When divorced parents disagree over children’s COVID vaccinations

Parents all across Maryland are grappling with issues on how to best navigate the COVID-19 pandemic for their children’s physical and mental health.  With the COVID-19 vaccine now available to minor children 12 and older and with the expectation that these vaccines will be available to younger children in the future, parents need to decide whether they want their children vaccinated.

The decision whether to vaccinate may provoke controversy between parents.  This is particularly so in situations where divorced parents, who have joint legal custody, have a long history of disputes.  So, what should divorced parents do if they cannot agree on whether their child should receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Schedule a call or a meeting with the child’s pediatrician to get all of the information that they need to make an informed decision. What are the pros and cons of the child getting vaccinated?
  • Obtain the pediatrician’s recommendation based on his/her knowledge of their child’s medical condition.

If after speaking to the pediatrician, the divorced parents still are unable to reach a decision, look to the custody agreement to determine if that provides any guidance on who can make the decision.  Does one party have the sole authority to make healthcare decisions?  Does one party have tie-breaking authority when the parties are unable to reach an agreement?  If so, that party can make the final decision on whether to have the minor child vaccinated.  If the custody agreement does not provide any guidance, other available alternatives are mediating the dispute or seeking the assistance of the court to resolve the dispute.

Dana McKee has experience in handling these difficult and complex issues. Her experience allows her to be sensitive to the family dynamics without compromising her abilities to obtain results for her clients. Dana chairs the family law practice at Brown, Goldstein & Levy, a nationally recognized firm bringing decades of passionate, effective advocacy to the fight for justice across the legal spectrum.

If you are battling your ex over whether to get your child vaccinated or other COVID-related issues that require a family law attorney with proven experience dealing with difficult and complex cases, call Dana McKee at (410) 962-1030 for a consultation.

Authored by

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Dana McKee Partner