Divorce: Who Decides whether the Kids Get a Vaccine?

Divorce Law

The recently-approved COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to be distributed around the country, and they have ignited some controversy among Americans. Some people trust that the vaccine is safe and effective, and others aren’t so sure. 

(This blog post will not go into specifics on the safety of the vaccine, however, the CDC states that “data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19).” Please read more on vaccine safety here.)

At the moment, there is no approved vaccine for children under the age of 16, however, considering that some people are unsure as to whether they trust the vaccine, our office is anticipating scenarios where divorced parents disagree over whether their children should receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available. 

How can you circumvent this potential conflict, and other potential conflicts, before they crop up? 

Religion, Education, Health, Welfare… and Vaccines

I recently wrote a blog post on the importance of having a “tie-breaking strategy” when it comes to co-parenting with your ex (read the article here). The basic gist of the article stresses the importance of agreeing on a method of conflict resolution. If you don’t, you’re potentially setting yourself up for bitter fights down the road. 

This is an important part of the divorce agreement. I always encourage my clients to include a good, reasonable and cost-effective way of resolving issues where both parties disagree on the best approach (in other words, the idea is to make sure that you don’t end up battling it out in Court, which is expensive and time-consuming). Furthermore, it complicates co-parenting.

It used to be that I would tell new clients that the biggest hot-button issues are religion, education, health and general welfare. These days, I also say, “Hey, if they come up with a kid-friendly vaccine, who decides whether your kid gets it?” 

Don’t Leave it to the Judge

This is not a decision you want a judge to make for you, for several reasons. Firstly, going to Court is expensive and can take some time. Secondly, it is difficult to give up major issues concerning the children to a stranger who has little, if any, time to get to know the values and principles of the family.  

It comes down to this: make sure that you have a method for navigating difficult decisions in the case that you and your former spouse cannot agree to. Most often, divorcing couples choose to settle disagreements in mediation/arbitration, but there are many other methods. Find a more extensive list in my previous blog post.

Divorce can be tricky and emotionally taxing, but making sure that you have a solid divorce agreement that includes a plan for conflict resolution is crucial for your success down the line.  It can avoid unnecessary animosity between the parents.  Call us today at 303-449-1873 to set up a complimentary consultation and we’ll find out which methods are right for you and your family. 

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