What Happens When Parents Disagree On Children Receiving Covid-19 Vaccinations?

By The Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch|October 14, 2021

Some Parents Disagree on Vaccinating their Children Against COVID-19

Even before COVID, parents sometimes disagreed on whether to get their children regular vaccinations. They cited safety concerns, religious reasons, or personal issues. Since the COVID-19 vaccine was deemed safe for children, some parents eagerly awaited vaccination for their children, while others stoutly rejected the vaccine for themselves and their children.

If you are divorced or separated from minor children, the welfare of the children must be the priority. Decisions concerning the children can be complicated and emotional; the Westlake Village child custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch are here to help.

A Plague on Both Your Houses

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it feels as if the Earth’s gravity has gotten stronger and stronger. In the beginning, people feared getting sick. Then came the discussions of how dangerous the virus was. Then came arguments about lockdowns. Then, more arguments concerning masks. Then, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate became the debate du jour. Then, the battle of mask and vaccine mandates. It weighs you down after a while.

Divorced parents who share joint legal custody also have an array of significant decisions affecting their children. Issues like:

  • Counseling?
  • Non-emergency medical treatment?
  • Religious upbringing?
  • School choices?

Now, we can add children’s vaccinations to the decisions made by parents having joint legal custody.

It does not help that vaccinations have been a continuous subject for years. Some parents are against all childhood vaccinations. Others may have accepted vaccinations like the MMR, hepatitis, DTaP, flu, etc., but are unsure of the COVID-19 vaccine. Even when parents agree not to vaccinate, schools or organizations may require vaccinations to attend or participate.

These are tough decisions for intact families but even more difficult for single-parent households with joint legal custody. Parents should consult with their children’s pediatrician and maybe speak with a family therapist. Ultimately, when divorced parents cannot agree in situations like these, the decision falls to the family court that has authority over that child.

Before a family court decides on vaccinations, it will examine each parent’s reasons for or against vaccination. It will weigh specific health risks in the family and school or activity requirements. Medical experts, including the child’s pediatrician, will also be consulted to reach a consensus, but if the answer is still cloudy, the judge will make the final decision.

When should I contact a lawyer

Child custody is crucial when divorcing or separating. In some cases, children are the most affected by this significant life change. California’s family courts require parents to support children during and after a divorce. Even though both parents’ involvement is preferred, that does not mean both parents are always equally involved in custody.

When vaccination is questioned, neither parent should act unilaterally. Instead, the Westlake Village child custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch can help navigate this challenging process, ensuring the right decisions are made while minimizing disruptions in children’s lives.

Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-707-0202.

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