One disagreement divorcing parents often have is about health care decisions for their children. This is particularly the case when deciding whether the children should be vaccinated against COVID-19, or whether they can visit other children’s homes or have their friends visit them, and other controversial COVID issues.
How parents can resolve their conflict about COVID issues concerning their children depends on many things. If you have just filed for a divorce, you may need to get temporary orders that will give you the legal right to make medical decisions for the children.
For parents who are far along in the divorce process or have a final divorce decree, the first step is to look at the court’s existing decree to determine who has the right to make medical decisions for the children.
When parents have the joint right to make medical decisions. If the court has ordered that medical decision-making will require both parents to make a joint decision, and parents disagree, they may have to petition the court to modify the order and give the decision-making power to one of the parents. The court will likely not order a parent to get the children vaccinated but will give one parent the exclusive right to make medical decisions when the parties cannot agree.
When one parent does not have the authority to make medical decisions. If you are a parent who does not have the authority to make medical decisions, and you disagree with the decision or decisions of the other parent, you must petition the court for a modification of the previous order.
If you are the primary caregiver, there is a stronger chance that the court will pick you as the one who will make medical decisions for the children.
Mediation. If the couple has joint decision-making for their children’s healthcare, and they disagree about COVID vaccinations, mediation including a child specialist, mental health professional, or a parenting facilitator, may assist them in coming to their own agreement without going to court.
Parents can make an appointment with a specialist who can help them from a parenting plan that will address the issue of vaccinations.
Martinez Legal, P.C. Can Help
If you are unable to agree with your children’s other parent about how to deal with COVID issues concerning the children and need professional advice or assistance, contact our family law attorneys at Martinez Legal, P.C. We can meet with you through an online video format or in person at our office in a socially distancing environment.