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My former wife is kind of an “anti-vaxxer” and I am sure she will give me a hard time if I get my daughter vaccinated when the Covid-19 vaccine is available. How can this be resolved?

Co-parenting brings many decisions that need to be made during a child’s life, and they can be a challenge when parents disagree on these decisions. Navigating these decisions is based on your custody agreement.

Who Decides When a Child Receives the COVID-19 Vaccine?

That is going to depend on whether you and the Ex are sharing joint legal custody or not. Legal custody sets out how parents make decisions for the kids- medical, educational, religious, and other important areas of the child’s life.

If either of you has sole legal custody, that parent will make these kinds of decisions until the child turns 18. So, that parent would be able to make the decision on the vaccine.

How do We Decide on the COVID-19 Vaccine with Joint Custody?

If you and your former wife are sharing joint legal custody, that is where you may have a problem. Joint legal custody means that the parents “must agree” before making any of these decisions or taking any non-emergency medical or educational actions. But if you could agree on everything you would probably still be together, right?

So often, no decision gets made because the parents are at an impasse and neither has the power to make the decision. Although you may believe you are doing the right thing in getting your child the COVID-19 vaccine, but if you just take her out and do it, you are in violation of your judgment, and the mom could drag you back into court on a Motion for Contempt.

These are all things to think carefully about before agreeing to a parenting plan. If you know during your relationship that your child’s other parent is against vaccines, traditional medicine, or wants to homeschool your kids, discuss this with your attorney. He or she can bring it up with the judge and possibly get some language in the parenting plan that can avoid the impasse and future court actions.

If you have questions about any of these issues, contact an experienced family law attorney.