To Vaccinate or To Not Vaccinate – What Happens When Parents Can’t Agree? Divorce Attorney NYC Explains
Navigating any disagreement regarding minor children, whether the parents are in an intact relationship or otherwise, can be challenging on the best of days. Now that the Covid-19 vaccines are available for children as young as 5 years old, many complications can arise when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine and divorced parents. What happens when mom and dad fundamentally do not view the impacts of Covid-19 similarly or just simply do not agree as to vaccinating their child, and therefore cannot jointly decide whether to vaccinate their children against Covid-19? Divorce Attorney NYC Val Kleyman says that this is where the allocation of the custodial parent is key for divorced and separated parents.
First, parents must look to their agreement to determine whether the parents have shared parental responsibility, or if one parent has sole decision-making authority. Where one parent has the ability to make medical decisions for a child on his/her own, the answer on its face is simple. Divorce Attorney NYC Val Kleyman says that the issues arise when both parents have to agree on medical decisions for their children.
While New York only encourages children to get vaccinated, New York City has expanded its Covid-19 mandates, setting vaccine requirements for children as young as 5 years old, and for works at all private companies. For example, extracurricular and school activities may require the child to be vaccinated in order to participate, as well as dining out at restaurants and attending indoor events. If a parent is preventing a child from getting vaccinated, they are inadvertently alienating them from socializing as well.
Val Kleyman, divorce attorney NYC mentioned that a recent dispute arose between two divorced parents in Monroe County, the mother, a lawyer and the father, a scientists and professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, regarding whether to vaccinate their 11-year-old daughter. Ultimately, Monroe County Supreme Court Judge Richard Dollinger ruled that time is of the essence is getting the 11-year-old vaccinated against the virus, and sided with the mother ordering her to make a vaccination appointment as soon as possible.
Ultimately, parents want what is in their child’s best interest. It is important for parents who cannot agree whether to vaccinate or not to find a way to discuss the issue maturely. Once the issue ends up in front of a judge, that is who will be making the decision for your child.