What Happens When Co-Parents Can’t Agree on the COVID-19 Vaccine for Their Children

Rincker Law Co-Parenting, Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

Most of the world’s population is awaiting an opportunity to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Nonetheless, there still remains people who are reluctant to receive the vaccination.

What happens when co-parents cannot agree on whether or not their child should receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Instead of arguing about it, the better approach is to review the divorce decree and the custodial order. If one parent holds sole allocation of parental responsibilities, then they have the right and responsibility to make healthcare decisions for a minor child. This includes the COVID-19 vaccine.

If co-parents have joint allocation of parental responsibilities, then it likely will be necessary for the parents to discuss whether or not the child should be vaccinated. In situations in which an agreement cannot be reached, then it is again wise to consult the divorce and custody papers, which may address whether one parent or the other has final say in healthcare decisions for the child.

If the parent who does not have final decision-making authority strongly disagrees with the decision to vaccinate the child, then it may make sense to request mediation to settle the issue. It also is possible to ask the local courts to resolve the dispute.

When co-parents are considering going to court, it is wise for both to work with attorneys. The parents and their counsel will want to gather evidence that either supports the decision to vaccinate or not. This is because personal opinions with regard to vaccinations will carry little to no weight with the judge. Of far more value is testimony from the child’s doctor or another medical expert.

The court will consider numerous factors before rendering a decision. One of these factors may be the level of each parent’s historical involvement with healthcare decisions relating to the child. Whichever parent has been responsible for these decisions may be given more credence by the court.

Similarly, if a parent objects to the vaccination because of religious beliefs, the judge will consider this. However, the court will not base a decision solely on this factor. Judges also are aware that parents sometimes use religious beliefs as a convenient reason to avoid vaccinations. A parent who wants to use religious grounds for refusing a vaccination would be wise to be prepared to demonstrate the genuineness and long-standing nature of their beliefs.

Contact Rincker Law today at (217) 531-2179 to discuss your options with regard to the vaccine for COVID-19.


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