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McCurley Orsinger Attorney Offers Advice for Pediatricians Treating Children of Divorce

11-12-2009 12:02 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P.

Betsy Branch recently spoke to the Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas

Betsy Branch recently spoke to the Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas

DALLAS – When a child is sick, nothing else matters to a parent. But when those parents are divorced, their pediatrician might find their ability to provide non-emergency care for the child is affected by the family’s legal situation.

Family law attorney Elizabeth Durso Branch of McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P., recently spoke to the Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas to help physicians better understand the unique aspects of treating a child whose parents are divorced or separated.

In her presentation, “When Two Worlds Collide: Pediatrics and Family Law,” Ms. Branch discussed key issues that doctors must consider when treating children of divorced parents. Among the important matters addressed by Ms. Branch are the need for doctors to determine if both parents must consent to non-emergency, invasive medical treatment; the rights and duties of parents; the validity of parental authorization agreements and the practical reasons to maintain a current court order as a part of a patient’s file.

Ms. Branch also addressed other practical legal issues that are key to interactions with family law attorneys, including HIPAA requirements, responding to discovery requests, depositions and subpoenas.

“A pediatrician’s first priority is to care for the child, but unfortunately when the parents are divorced, it could potentially impact the doctor-patient relationship,” says Ms. Branch. “By understanding a few basics of family law, a doctor will be much better equipped to deal with children, parents and the occasional lawyer.”

Ms. Branch also offered some tips for doctors in dealing with divorced families, including:

• Ask for a certified copy of the Divorce Decree or current Court Order
• Always ask for updates for patient chart information
• Ask for contact information for both parents
• Note in child’s medical chart who accompanies child for visit or appointment

As a former Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support Litigation Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Branch focuses a large percentage of her practice on cases involving children’s issues.

With offices in Dallas and San Antonio, McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P., is one of the largest firms in Texas specializing solely in Family Law. Each of the firm's partners is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P.
5950 Sherry Lane
8th Floor
Dallas, TX 75225

Media contact:
Alan Bentrup

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