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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  General practice of law with emphasis in family law.
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Both my Husband and his X have joint legal custody of Aaron

Resolved Question:

Both my Husband and his X have joint legal custody of Aaron my fifteen year old stepson.
Aaron has many health and psycological problems since birth. The X refuses to share information on Aarons health citing HiPPA laws stating that Aaron chooses not to include his father. The truth is that the X chooses to not allow Aaron to include his father. When Aaron tells his mother otherwise she incourages him to change his mind. We have Aaron every other weekend and every other Thursday and have no access to his medical needs and therapy. Aaron is currently getting treatment that we have no part in. Is there anything we can do? We live in Pa.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.



You say they have Joint custody - does that include joint legal custody as well as physical custody?


If yes, then she needs to share the information or be in Contempt and he can file a Motion for Contempt.


If no, then he can return to court and modify the Order so he also has Joint Legal Custody. This will ensure that he is privy to any medical information, as well as involved in the decision process.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.


This was not very helpfull. I stated that they have joint legal custody and that Aaron came to visit us every other weekend and every other Thursday ( thus giving us partial physical custody) I need to know what our rights are having joint legal custody to speak with Health professionals related to Aaron's care , even if his mother and Aaron who is 15 don't want us to. Alice

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.



I see now where you did state he has "joint legal custody" My error in reading the post. Apologies.


Since he has joint legal custody, he may provide that Court Order showing it as such to the medical professionals and have him listed as an authorized person of interest to be given medical documents.


And, if the Mother is not allowing him to know of or have input in decision making, then he will need to file the Contempt of Court and allow the Judge to admonish and remind her that she is subject of fines and possible incarceration if she does not comply with his Orders.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
At what point does HIPPA trump everything ? The mother is telling the child not to allow the sharing of the information and therapy to his father. When the child is with us he understands the value of letting his father be informed and wants that to happen. When the child gets back with his mother he changes the story to suit her. The mother has and will always want full control. Alice
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.



Because he is a minor and the Father has joint legal custody, HIPAA is a moot subject. He has just as much right to those records as the Mother because the child is not an adult.


That is why I suggest the Contempt Motion. Let the Judge explain this to her, since she apparently has a hard head.


The Father can get the documents to file the Contempt from the clerk of the court where the Order was issued. He can file pro se. There will be a hearing and she will be admonished and fully informed as to what "joint legal" means.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do you have a specific reference that I can read that the HIPPA is a "moot" point with a minor in Pa? From what I understand is that each state sets it's own rules regarding HIPPA and disclosure of minor's information. What is the law in PA? A state can be silent or prohibit disclosure of information or records to a parent without the minor's consent. Again if it's a moot point shouldn't we be able to get the information directly from the therapist or provider? Thanks, Alice
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.



There are some medical issues wherein a minor has full control over who gets the information. But your scenario does not lend to those - for instance, abortions, drug abuse treatment, care for STD's


Under HIPAA, the parents of an unemancipated minor is considered the child's personal representative.


It is a complicated matter to try to write here. So, if you would - please view this link to read and obtain all the information PA information on HIPAA and how the PA law pertains to minors. Specifically on or about page 19 - but try to read it from the beginning so you can fully understand a personal representative.




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Samuel, One final follow-up and then I promise to accept your answer. On page 24 of that link regarding consent of a minor age 14 and over for outpatient mental health treatment and therapy-- If the child gives conscent to the mother to have access to his therapist and participate in his treatment, because the father also has joint legal custody, does that give him automatic conscent. I don't believe from what I read that your answer that HIPPA and conscent is a "moot" issue in a minor is correct. Please read over page 24 and see if you feel different about your answer to me before and also answer the question about giving consent to one parent etc... Thanks, Alice
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.



For mental health records, yes; he needs to give consent. And thank you for pointing that out.


He would need to give his consent. And, he would need to give his consent for both parents individually. Now, what the Father can consider is filing the Contempt proceeding and explaining to the court the Mother is swaying the son's thought processes in the matter. Have the court interview the son privately in chambers so as not to intimidate him and find out what the son wants to do in that regard.


That might help put an end to this. Though, it states that he may change his mind at any time as to who is privy.








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