Most Americans are breathing a sigh of relief as the availability of adult coronavirus vaccines becomes more and more widespread. However, the question of whether children should receive the COVID-19 vaccines is a stickier issue. Trends against childhood vaccinations are on the rise, and parents are becoming more and more hesitant about getting vaccines for their children.
If parents are on the same page regarding vaccinations, the conversations around vaccinations and a child's best interest can be seamless. But what happens if you are divorced, separated, or unmarried and do not share the same opinion as your co-parent. Which parent's view on vaccinations will prevail?
Your custody situation will determine your role in making COVID-19 vaccination decisions for your child. If you and your co-parent have joint legal custody, both of you are responsible for making joint decisions about your child's health, education, and general welfare, regardless of who is the primary residential custodian. Accordingly, both you and your co-parent will have to agree on whether to vaccinate your child.
If you have sole legal and physical custody, you make all of the decisions regarding your child's health, education, and general welfare. So you will not have to consult your co-parent about whether to allow COVID-19 vaccinations for your child.
Joint Legal Custody and Different Views On Vaccinations
If you have joint legal custody and have a different view on coronavirus vaccines than your co-parent's, try having an open and honest conversation about your concerns. Often the underlying reason for a parent's hesitation or insistence has to do with their view of the potential impact of the vaccine on their child's health. Therefore, it may be helpful for both of you to have a conversation with your child's pediatrician to add more context to your discussion.
If an open dialogue doesn't work, the next step is mediation. As a trained, neutral third party, a mediator might be able to spur the communication in a way that you and your co-parent can't do on your own.
What Happens If We Can't Agree On Vaccinations
If you have tried to talk it out, but you and your co-parent still can't come to a decision, the next step is to seek relief in family court. In court, the judge will likely consider several factors to determine whether COVID-19 vaccines are in your child's best interest. These factors including whether:
- Your child has received doctor prescribed and medically recommended vaccines in the past,
- Your child has had any previous reactions to vaccines;
- You, your co-parent, or your child have any risk factors for COVID-19; and
- Your child's school will require the vaccines for attendance.
How The Lento Law Firm Can Help
Attorney Joseph D. Lento cares passionately about families and will work tirelessly to help yours no matter the circumstances. If you need assistance negotiating vaccine decisions with your co-parent, call us today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a private and confidential consultation.