The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a host of new uncertainties and challenges. With mandatory mask-wearing, testing, and quarantines, parents around the country are at a loss for how to navigate these unchartered waters. A newly developing area of uncertainty concerns child vaccinations and what to do when one parent wants their child to be vaccinated while the other parent does not. While this article will not attempt to address every single dilemma that can be presented, there are typically two ways the conundrum of child vaccination disagreements can be handled. The path to take will depend on the particular child custody arrangement.
The easy answer is available for a parent who has sole legal custody of his or her child. Sole legal custody is a legal means of providing one parent with the final say concerning the child’s education, health, religion, and other major decisions concerning the child’s upbringing. This is typically awarded by the court when the parents are unable to get along to an extreme degree, or one of the parents is a perpetrator of domestic or sexual abuse. In such case, the parent who has sole legal custody of the child will be able to make the decision as to whether the child gets vaccinated or not. The other parent has no veto power.
On the flip side, if you and the other parent are married or have been awarded joint legal custody by a court, then both parents must work together and consult each other regarding all major aspects of the child’s upbringing, including religion, health care, dental care, residential care, and the child’s general welfare. This means that one parent cannot trump the other parent if they disagree on whether their child receives a vaccination or not. In such instance, the parents are more than likely going to have to ask the court to make the final decision for them.
It can be difficult to know how to handle issues concerning child custody and decision-making. If you have questions or need assistance in this regard, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced family law attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm today.