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Child Custody and the COVID-19 Vaccine: What to Do if Parents Disagree

COVID-19 Vaccine

The decision on whether or not to vaccinate a child to protect them against COVID-19 has sparked major debates among co-parents who share joint legal custody of their child. It is common for parents to disagree about which type of vaccines their child needs, whether due to potential health risks or religious reasons; however, this vaccine has proven to create a large amount of contention. So, what are you supposed to do if you and your co-parent cannot come to an agreement about whether you should give your child the COVID-19 vaccine? Today, we review some options. 

Determine if Your Child Is Approved for the COVID-19 Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 12 and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine.  If your child is younger, you do not need to worry about vaccinating them, for now. It is up to you and your co-parent to determine together if you would like to have your child vaccinated. If you cannot come to an agreement, then the family court which has jurisdiction over that child must make this decision for you. 

Speak to Your Pediatrician and Do Your Research on the Vaccine 

Your pediatrician understands your child's medical history better than anyone else. Get his/her advice about the vaccine. You can also do your own research to determine if you wish to have your child vaccinated. 

How the Court Will Determine if Your Child Should Get the COVID-19 Vaccine 

Like other vaccination cases, the court will decide whether your child should be vaccinated based on the best interest of the child factors if you cannot reach a decision. Essentially, the court will look at why each parent would like to vaccinate the child or is against vaccinating the child. The judge will also look at the child's medical history, specific health risks that run in the family, school or activity requirements, and also consult with a medical expert. There are many pros and cons about the vaccines online; however, a judge may find testimony from the child's pediatrician to be the most important piece of information. 

Ways a Family Law Attorney From Our Firm Can Help  

If parents share joint legal custody of their child and they do not agree on whether to have the child immunized, neither parent should act unilaterally. Instead, each parent should contact a family law attorney to determine which steps to take next. Here are some benefits of consulting with an attorney from our firm: 

  • Help you build your case as to why you do or do not wish to have your child vaccinated
  • Provide continuous support
  • File paperwork for you
  • Provide compassionate legal advocacy 

If you require help from the court to determine if your child should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, contact our office online today for assistance.