When parents get divorced, their marital relationship ends, but they are still co-parents. No matter what the exes feel about each other, they must find a way to continue raising the kids together, although now from separate households.
This includes making sure your children get the medical care they need to grow up as healthy as they can. All Antioch parents want this for their kids. But they might have very different ideas about what proper healthcare for children means. This often includes vaccinations.
For years, a minority of California parents have opposed vaccinating their kids against diseases like measles and chickenpox. Now that authorities have approved COVID vaccines for teenagers and children, the issue has become more controversial. Divorced parents in California and elsewhere have gone to family court because one parent wanted to vaccinate their child and the other did not.
The right to make medical decisions
Besides physical child custody, which determines the kids’ living arrangements, California law recognizes legal custody. Usually, divorced parents share legal child custody, which gives them the right to make important decisions about their children’s upbringing. Healthcare is a major part of this power. Parents must work together to pick the children’s pediatrician and help decide on treatment options when one of the kids gets sick.
Vaccinations are another issue that divorced parents must work out. If they cannot, they might have to ask a judge to decide. Interestingly, a few family court judges in California and elsewhere in the U.S. have ordered unvaccinated parents to get one of the COVID vaccines or risk their custody or visitation rights. It is far from clear if family courts have this power.
More importantly, if you and your ex are fighting over whether to vaccinate your kids, you might need help from your divorce attorney.