Top

You and Your Ex Profoundly Disagree about Vaccinating Your Kids for COVID: Who Gets to Decide?

The coronavirus pandemic has created numerous tense child-rearing issues between divorced parents. With the Covid-19 vaccine now available to children age 12 and up, there’s new potential for conflict. Polls show that American parents are torn as to whether to give their kids the vaccine, and there’s no doubt that some divorced parents fiercely disagree as to the right approach. When both sides maintain that their stance is the best path to keeping kids healthy and safe, who gets to decide?

Who has legal custody?

When parents divorce, they must come to an agreement about who has physical and legal custody of their children. Physical custody refers to where and with whom the children primarily live. Legal custody refers to parents having authority to make decisions for their children regarding major issues such as religious upbringing, education, and medical matters. Parents often have shared legal custody, which means that both parents have equal decision-making responsibility for their children. However, sometimes a parent may have sole legal custody and exclusive authority to make important decisions for the child, including whether to vaccinate them.

However, even if one parent has sole legal custody and decision-making power, the other may contest the other parent’s authority if they allege that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. For example, if the authorized parent supported vaccines at the time of the custody agreement but has since changed their mind, the parent without legal custody may ask the court for shared legal custody or to modify the order concerning this particular issue.

Try to compromise

When facing this issue, it’s best to reach an agreement without the court’s involvement, which is a costly process and emotionally draining. If the two of you are stalemated, try mediation. An experienced mediator may help you reach a compromise, such as waiting to vaccinate when the child reaches a certain age, agreeing to vaccinate if a school requires it, or acquiescing to the preferences of an older teen.

If mediation doesn’t work or isn’t possible, then look to the court for resolution. A judge will review the circumstances of the case, listen to testimony from both parents, and possibly consider the child’s opinion if they are old enough. The court will also consider whether one parent has sole legal custody of the child, although this may not be the deciding factor. Ultimately, as with all child-related issues, the court will decide based on the child’s best interest.

If you and your ex disagree about whether to give your child the Covid vaccine, contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. online or call (888) 332-5855 to discuss your situation.

Categories: 
Related Posts
  • Tips for Divorcing Your High School Sweetheart Read More
  • Is it Normal to Feel Numb During a Divorce? Read More
  • Your Spouse Asked for a Divorce but Now Wants to Reconcile: What to Do? Read More
/
Why Choose Tenn And Tenn Let Our Family Help Your Family
  • A Family Firm

    We are a family committed to providing excellent service to our clients.

  • Statewide Service
    We work hard to obtain the best results possible for clients throughout New Hampshire.
  • Trial-Tested Attorneys
    Our lawyers are experienced courtroom advocates who are ready to take your case to trial to obtain justice.
Free Injury Consultations Available Contact Us Today

Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our award-winning legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (888) 332-5855.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.

Please do not include any confidential or sensitive information in a contact form, text message, or voicemail. The contact form sends information by non-encrypted email, which is not secure. Submitting a contact form, sending a text message, making a phone call, or leaving a voicemail does not create an attorney-client relationship.