Parenting agreement about circumcision under dispute by mother

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Parenting a child when you aren’t in a relationship with the other parent can be a challenge. Each parent has a specific way he or she thinks the child should be raised. These ways sometimes conflict with each other. When that happens, trouble might follow. A recent Florida case highlights how tense things can get when the unmarried parents of a child can’t agree on certain aspects of the child’s care.

The 3-year-boy at the center of this child custody battle isn’t circumcised. His mother agreed to let his father have him circumcised at the father’s expense. That agreement was made in a child custody agreement the mother signed in December of 2011. The father then signed the agreement, which was entered into the court record in January of 2012.

Now, the woman is trying to go back on that agreement. She says that since the child is three, she feels the risk of the anesthesia is too great for him to get the circumcision. The boy’s father feels like the circumcision is still in the best interests of the child.

A pediatric urologist has asserted that having the boy circumcised can lower his risk of contracting HIV, as well as penile cancer. He also says that the procedure is considered safe up until the age of 10, at which time the risk of torn sutures is increased due to puberty.

The mother petitioned the court to stop the father from having the child circumcised. A Palm Beach County Circuit Judge declined the mother’s request; however, the 4th District Court of Appeal has issued a stay in the case. Now, the fate of the boy’s circumcision is on hold pending the court’s decision.

Parenting agreements are usually a good idea for unmarried parents; however, this case shows that even with an agreement, things aren’t always clear cut. Any father who is having child custody issues should make sure he understands how he can exert his rights to make sure that his child is cared for in a manner that puts the child’s interests first.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Boynton mom sues to stop circumcision” Scott T. Smith, May. 14, 2014

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