Q. My Ex got primary custody of our two girls in the divorce and I see them every other weekend and one night each week. Our youngest is 10 and was diagnosed with diabetes last month. My Ex was never good with medical things – I always take them to the dentist and annual pediatrician appointments because she is so anxious about medical issues and passes out when she sees needles. This issue has made dealing with diabetes particularly challenging for our family. I have been going over to give Kelly her shots multiple times each day but they live 20 minutes away.
The girls have recently been telling me how angry their mom is all the time and how much pressure she is putting on our 12 year old to learn how to give Kelly her shots. This is so unfair to the girls. I know my Ex loves them but she is no longer the best person to parent them every day. She won’t agree to change the schedule – do you think a court would change it on these facts?
A. This situation is serious and the court will recognize it. File a complaint for modification asking for primary custody of your children because of this medical change in circumstances. Also file an emergency motion for a temporary change in the parenting plan. This will allow you to get in front of the judge quickly after your Ex is served and ask for an immediate change to the plan so you can keep Kelly safe. Right now, it may not even be OK for Kelly to sleep at her mom’s house until her diabetes is regulated.
While this may seem a drastic step, it may be the push your Ex needs to get herself help. Any parent who is too anxious to bring their children to a routine doctor or dentist appointment clearly needs some sort of help themselves. It is unreasonable to expect you to drive over 4-6 times per day to give Kelly shots or to force her 12 year old sister to do it. What happens when Kelly’s blood sugar spikes overnight – are you supposed to go over at 2 AM to give her insulin? Can your Ex even handle doing a finger stick to check Kelly’s sugar overnight?
Medical technology has come a long way for diabetics but technology sometimes fails. Even when Kelly gets set up for insulin pumps and glucose monitors there are things your Ex will need to be able to do. You should expect when you file your complaint your Ex will come in and argue all the medical technology that she is going to employ to manage things. Over time the kids can transition back to spending more time with her once technology is in place and working well and your Ex has worked out some of her issues so she can handle the unforeseen. For now, Kelly’s health requires a capable parent under the same roof.