In North Carolina Child Custody cases, relationships between parents are often strained and a common symptom of that co-parenting relationship is one or both parents fail to adequately share information about the child with each other. Fortunately, North Carolina law provides protection for parents to ensure they have access to a child’s important records.
According to N.C.G.S. § 50-13.2(b), “[a]bsent an order of the court to the contrary, each parent shall have equal access to the records of the minor child involving the health, education, and welfare of the child.”
Under this law, parents are guaranteed equal access to a child’s doctor’s records, school report cards and progress reports, and other vital documents about the welfare of the child such as extracurricular sports schedules, unless the court has ruled otherwise. Parents have the independent right to access these records so long as the court has not limited the access.
Many North Carolina Family Court Judges have interpreted § 50-13.2(b) to mean that because each parent has equal access to a child’s important information (absent a ruling one parent does not have this right), the parents should not use one another as a record-keeping service. For example, one parent should not bear the responsibility of obtaining and giving a child’s medical records to the other parent when both have equal access to those records.
Parents regularly expand and clarify the “right of access” through agreement in a Consent Order for Custody or Child Custody Agreement. A common expansion is language that allows each parent the right to confer and meet with a child’s teachers, healthcare providers, sports coaches, and other caregivers such as daycare workers. Other common provisions include those dealing with how information should be shared between parents, such as a structure on how information should be shared and that requires parents to share information directly with one another so the child is not forced to serve as a messenger between parents.
Knowing everything about your child’s life, from day-to-day activities to major life decisions, is obviously a crucial part of parenting. Fortunately, North Carolina law sets forth a parent’s right to information and records for their children. To be sure your Child Custody Order fully protects your rights as a parent, please contact us today at 980-939-0233 to schedule a consultation.