Vaccinating Your Child As a Co-Parent In Arizona
What To Do When Co-Parents Disagree On The COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccination is an issue that has been pushed to the forefront by the coronavirus pandemic. Some parents see vaccination as an obvious and necessary choice, while others see it as an unknown risk to their children. For couples in Arizona that have split up but still raise a child together, this issue can become even more heated. Read on to learn more about how Arizona family laws come into play when co-parents disagree about whether or not to vaccinate their child for COVID-19. If you’re looking for an experienced Arizona custody lawyer to represent you in a pandemic-related dispute, contact our firm for your free consultation.
Types Of Custody In Arizona
In Arizona, custody is divided into two parts: parenting time and legal decision making. These are often referred to as physical custody and legal custody, respectively. Parenting time is the time the child spends with each parent in their household. Legal decision making is the authority to make decisions about the child’s education, medical treatment, religious tutelage, and more.
Arizona courts generally have a preference for awarding both parents joint custody of their child. Even when one child is physically with one parent, the other parent can maintain shared legal custody of the child. If only one parent is granted either type of custody of the child, this is referred to as sole custody. Vaccination is a medical procedure that falls under the legal custody category. So if the parents share joint legal custody, they both have a say in whether or not the child is vaccinated. If one parent has sole legal custody, that parent will make the choice regarding the child’s vaccination.
Child Vaccination Information
Contrary to initial beliefs about COVID-19, children and teenagers are able to contract and spread the virus. The CDC currently recommends that children 12 and older are vaccinated against COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available to those 12 and older. Patients should receive a second dose of the vaccine three weeks after the first appointment. The patient generally needs to stay at the medical office for 15-30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. Patients report several types of side effects after receiving the vaccine. Many people experience pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some also report side effects that are similar to flu symptoms. These include fatigue, nausea, fever, chills, and muscle aches. These side effects are usually minor and should only last a few days after injection. You may want to give your child a non-aspirin pain reliever after receiving the vaccine.
Sole Legal Custody Child Vaccination
When you have sole legal custody/decision making for your child, your ex technically has no final say on any medical decisions, including COVID-19 vaccination. The court has decided that you are the only parent who should have authority over these types of decisions. However, it’s still probably a good idea to notify the other parent that you intend to vaccinate your child. It isn’t necessary for the parent to give consent or agree.
Joint Legal Custody Child Vaccination
Resolving the issue of vaccination when one parent has sole legal decision making isn’t too complicated. When the parents share legal decision making, things can get far more complex. If you want to vaccinate your child but your ex doesn’t, begging for forgiveness rather than permission isn’t a good strategy here. Violating the court’s joint legal custody orders can have serious ramifications, and may even result in losing custody of your child. COVID-19 vaccinations are currently approved for children 12 and older, but are not mandatory. Until that day, parents with joint legal custody orders will need to seek the other parent’s approval before vaccinating their child.
So what happens if parents with joint legal decision making can’t come to an agreement over whether or not the child should be vaccinated? It may be helpful for the parents to sit with a third party to learn more about the pros and cons of vaccinations. The parents should consider scheduling an appointment with the child’s pediatrician to discuss if vaccinating their child is appropriate. If the parents still can’t come to an agreement, they may want to consider using a mediator before escalating the issue to court. A mediator will guide the parents through a negotiation on the issue and make sure they stay civil and on topic. Many parents find it to be a far less stressful experience than going to trial.
If the parents can’t reach an agreement over how to handle vaccinations, the issue could eventually proceed to court. While this will provide final clarity over the situation, it also gives the judge the final decision over your child’s medical treatment. Whenever the judge makes a decision in a child custody case, it is made keeping the child’s “best interests” as the number one priority. The judge will listen to each parents’ reasons for and against vaccination. Perhaps one parent has concerns over being in an area with high COVID-19 rates, or there may be a family history of health risks, or one parent’s religious beliefs don’t allow for child vaccination. Either way, each parent should craft a compelling argument of why the judge should agree with their vaccination stance. Retaining an experienced Avondale family law attorney could be beneficial for the spouses here, if they haven’t already.
Vaccinating Children In Arizona, A Hot Button Topic
The pandemic has already been a stressful time, and it’s hard to know exactly how the vaccination will affect children in the future. If you disagree with your child’s other parent about how to handle vaccination, hopefully you will be able to resolve the issue on your own. If not, you may want a dedicated family lawyer to help you get your point across.
Our Arizona legal team offers high quality services at prices that our competitors can’t beat. We also offer flexible payment options, and your initial consultation is free. Advocate for yourself and your child by hiring an experienced family lawyer- call for your free consultation today. Our Arizona Family Lawyers have handled many cases of vaccinationg children. We have argued both for and against vaccinating in and out of court. Find out what rights you have, how court orders impact what you can or can not do, and learn the best way to proceed when facing vaccinating your children in Arizona.