Vaccinations have been a hot topic for decades. Many people believe in their worth, while others fundamentally object to vaccines and believe they do more harm than good. The COVID-19 vaccine has brought these stark differences to light and, unfortunately, some divorced couples fall on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to getting their children vaccinated for COVID-19.
If one parent is awarded sole custody of their children in a Michigan divorce, the other parent has no say in whether their kids get the COVID-19 vaccination or not. Michigan law does encourage joint custody whenever possible so the children can have an upbringing with both parents in their lives.
Joint custody, though, can be a curse when parents disagree over medical decisions for their children. Just as divorced parents must agree on the schools their children attend and the religion in which they are raised, so too must they agree on medical choices for their kids, including whether they get vaxxed for COVID-19.
Time to Mediate
There is no COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 12 yet, but it’s coming, which means parents are thinking about it long and hard, especially those who have differing viewpoints on the vaccine. In the same way that all other custody issues are settled, parents must either come to an agreement between themselves or a Michigan court will make the decision for them.
Your family law attorney can help you come to an agreement, you can arrange for a mediator to intervene in this difficult situation, or you can take your fight to court. Ideally, settling a disagreement outside of court should always be the goal so you can save both time and money. The Friend of the Court (FOC) is available to help arbitrate settlements such as this.
When the vaccination argument cannot be resolved, it will go to court – and the court will rule in what is in the best interest of the children. You will need a divorce attorney to help argue for or against vaccination and present clear reasons of the benefits or drawbacks to try and achieve your desired outcome. It is important to be prepared to argue for a medical exemption or religious exemption if you do not want your child to be vaccinated. And on the other side of the argument, there may be medical evidence that puts the child in an at-risk category should they contract COVID-19 and strongly encourages that they be vaccinated.
Of course, this matter might eventually be resolved without the need for any intervention if schools decide to make the COVID-19 vaccine for kids mandatory.
Navigating Parenting Time
If you believe in getting your child vaccinated but your ex doesn’t, there is a good chance your ex may also be against wearing masks and taking precautions against COVID-19. It can be incredibly difficult for a parent to drop off their child for court-mandated parenting time and feel good about it when they know their preferred rules aren’t going to be followed in another household.
If you end up in court over this matter, be prepared for a judge to rule in favor of what is in the child’s best interests. In a pandemic world, protecting a young person’s health will take precedence over a parent’s personal beliefs or objections, whether that’s a vaccination or mask-wearing.
If you are struggling with parenting time and custody issues because of your beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine for your children, get support from the family law attorneys at Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.