Although the COVID-19 vaccine is only available to children 12 or older, it’s expected that younger age groups will be cleared for vaccination within the next few months. Despite assurance from the government and credible medical experts that any of the COVID-19 vaccines is safe for use, there’s still a considerable amount of hesitancy over whether or not to get the shot.
Parents who are concerned about their own well-being will no doubt extend that concern to their children. Ultimately, parents have the right to choose whether or not their children get vaccinated, but that decision can get a little more complicated when child custody is a factor.
Medical Decisions & Legal Custody
When a parent has legal custody, they can make a number of important decisions for their children. These decisions can include where they live, where they go to school, what their religious uprunning will be, and what kind of medical care they receive.
Deciding whether or not to vaccinate a child – against COVID-19 or any other disease – is a decision that falls under legal custody. If one parent has sole legal custody over a child, they – and they alone – can decide whether or not their child gets vaccinated. If the parent who doesn’t have legal custody disagrees with the medical decisions made by the other parent, they may be able to use that as a basis for a request to modify the child custody agreement.
Things can get a little more complicated when legal custody is jointly shared between parents. In this situation, neither parent has more authority to make a decision. This can lead to disputes that will require parents to refer to their parenting plan to resolve.
What Happens If Differences Can’t Be Resolved?
Sometimes a parenting plan can’t resolve issues as serious as vaccinating children when parents disagree on what to do. In this particular type of dispute, it’s not uncommon for either parent to be so deeply entrenched in their beliefs that changing their mind is nearly impossible.
In situations where parents come to a stalemate over vaccination, a family law attorney can help by offering mediation and arbitration services to settle the dispute out of court.
Pursuing this issue in court is an option, but litigation can be costly and time-consuming. If a judge decides on a vaccination dispute between parents, the judge will ultimately decide on what they believe is in the child’s best interests.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
Vaccination against COVID-19 or any other preventable disease is a hot topic in today’s society, and there are bound to be hotly contested disputes in families over this issue.
If you are involved in a dispute concerning whether or not to vaccinate your child, Claery & Hammond, LLP may be able to help. Our family law attorneys share many years of experience when it comes to resolving complicated disputes that affect families.
For more information, reach out to our attorneys today and request an initial consultation. By learning more about legal options that may be available to you, you can feel more confident about the future and resolving an important dispute in your life.
Reach out to Claery & Hammond, LLP today by contacting us online.