Sole Legal Custody Over Medical Decisions in Arizona
The Missouri Court of Appeals in the case of Gammon v. Gammon No. WD 79869 faced an issue whether to uphold a trial court’s order granting Father sole custody of the parties’ children because of Mother’s belief that she was a healer and would use unusual treatments to care for the children’s medical needs. Although the Gammon case is not an Arizona case and, therefore, may have questionable authority in Arizona. It is instructive in terms of an argument that could be made if a similar situation existed in Arizona.
The American Bar Association reported in the Gammon case that evidence was sufficient to establish that mother’s medical beliefs were significantly unorthodox, and thus father was appropriately awarded sole decision-making authority over their children’s medical treatment and selection of health care providers; mother rejected western medicine as a failure, believed she was a ‘healer‘ who could heal ailments by moving her hands over the body, believed she directly communicated with God to heal others, canceled her own health insurance, treated their children with oils despite children’s and father’s objections, declined to vaccinate their children against father’s wishes, and prevented father from taking their children to the doctor.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.