The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently available for those ages 16 and up. Trials are being conducted and one source predicts that in the next few months, a vaccine will be available for those ages 3 to 17. This raises a serious question about what to do when parents disagree about whether their child should be vaccinated.
The First Step: Look at the Court Order
If your child is the subject of a court order, then the first step is to look at the terms of that court order. The right to make invasive healthcare decisions is often contested. If the order gives one parent the exclusive right to make this decision, then that parent can decide whether to vaccinate the child. If the other parent objects, then again the terms of the court order control and that parent can either request mediation, consult their assigned parenting facilitator or coordinator, or, if necessary, file a petition in court requesting court intervention.
Mediation, Collaboration, or Consultation
Often, and when there is no controlling court order, parents have equal rights to decide whether or not to vaccinate their child. If they cannot come to an agreement, they have the option of trying mediation or submitting the issue to a collaborative setting to get help in making this serious decision. They can also work with a parenting coordinator or facilitator to help them make this decision. If these methods do not help, and the parents still cannot decide, then the parents might need to file a petition in court asking a Judge to make this very personal decision about their child.
Submit the Question to the Court
If there is no controlling court order allowing one parent to make the decision, and methods designed to help the parents agree have failed, then the court will make the decision based on what it finds is in the best interest of the children. This decision is very fact-driven, and all evidence concerning the child will be considered. With the worldwide pandemic having a devastating effect on the economy and having a direct effect on how families interact, whether to vaccinate the children is going to continue to be a pressing issue.
For More Information About Divorce and Co-Parenting Decisions, Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney.
To schedule a free initial consultation with a Dallas Family Law Attorney, contact Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices at 214-420-1800.