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Does custody impact parental access to records?

In a divorce, many things could happen with child custody. It could end up being given jointly to both parents. Another possibility is one parent being given sole custody, with the other getting visitation time.

What child custody arrangement comes out of a divorce can impact many things. This includes the amount of time each parent gets with a child and what decision-making power each parent gets regarding the child.

What about access to a child’s education and health records? Is a parent’s ability to access such records impacted by what kind of custody he or she is, and is not, granted in a divorce?

Here in Virginia, the answer is generally no. Under state law, whatever a parent’s custody status, he or she generally has the right to access the health and education records of his or her child, when said child is a minor.

There are a couple things, however, that can limit this right. For one, a court could issue an order restricting a parent’s access to such records. Under state law, courts can only issue such an order against a parent if good cause is demonstrated.

Also, state law allows medical providers to bar a parent access to a child patient’s health records under certain narrow circumstances related to the safety of the child or others.

So, generally, custody decisions don’t have impacts on parental access to a child’s records in Virginia. Understanding what things would, and wouldn’t, be affected by what custody arrangement is reached can be very important for a parent when going through a divorce. Divorce attorneys can provide guidance on such matters.

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