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NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS HAVE STATUTORILY GUARANTEED RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO SCHOOL AND MEDICAL INFORMATION OF THEIR CHILDREN

In my practice I see countless situations where schools and medical professionals accept instructions from primary custodial parents to deny the non-custodial parent access to their child. I have even seen where parents instruct schools to deny the non-custodial parent the right to visit their child at school for lunch or other events or to pick the child up. I believe such conduct is contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, and is detrimental to the proper parenting of children.

In 1989, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law expressly providing that “access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to medical, dental and school records, shall not be denied to a parent because the parent is not the child’s custodial parent....”

In addition, it is important to note that the Mississippi Statute (93-5-24) setting forth custody does not use the term “visitation” but defines custody as “where the child is.” This means that the Mississippi Legislature has also attempted to create custody situations which do not elevate one parent over the other or denominate one parent as “the visitation parent.”

Custody, in most situations, should be thought of as a “parenting plan” as opposed to one parent getting custody over the other. Of course where abuse or neglect is involved as well as many other possible situations, it may be appropriate to view the matter differently.