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What to Do if Co-Parents Disagree About COVID-19 Vaccination?


As many countries around the globe, including the United States, are administering COVID-19 vaccinations, not all parents agree to vaccinate their children.

But what happens when co-parents disagree about vaccinating their kids in Florida? How to resolve a dispute regarding the COVID-19 vaccine when parents are divorced or separated?

If you or your ex-spouse refuse to have your children vaccinated for coronavirus (COVID-19), contact an Orlando timesharing and parenting attorney at Donna Hung Law Group to help you resolve the dispute regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

How to resolve disagreements regarding COVID-19 vaccination?

In order to resolve a COVID-19 vaccination dispute in a child custody case, it is crucial to understand how custody is determined upon a Florida divorce.

In most custody cases, the court may either award shared or sole parental responsibility. A judge will consider the child’s best interests when awarding custody pursuant to Section 61.13, Florida Statutes. Also, under Florida law, courts prefer that children have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents.”

If the court awarded shared parental responsibility to both parents, they would have their full parental rights upon divorce. This makes it more difficult to resolve disagreements regarding the child’s care, such as COVID-19 vaccination, whenever they arise.

If both parents have shared parental responsibility, they have equal legal authority to make decisions related to the child’s medical care, including whether or not to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who has the decision-making authority?

When one parent wants their child to be vaccinated for COVID-19 but the other parent objects to vaccination, the court will review the terms of their custodial order to determine who has the decision-making authority in this matter.

  • Sole legal custody. If one parent has sole legal custody, he or she has the decision-making authority in the vaccination dispute.
  • Joint legal custody. If both parents have joint legal custody, they will have to come to a mutually acceptable agreement regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. Some custodial agreements give one parent “final decision-making authority” over the child’s medical care. If you are the parent with final decision-making authority, you have the right to decide whether or not your child will be vaccinated for COVID-19. Still, the parent who objects to the vaccination could petition the court to hear and resolve the COVID-19 vaccination dispute. Under certain circumstances, they may even request child custody modification.

Things to consider when resolving the COVID-19 vaccination dispute

When resolving the COVID-19 vaccination dispute between co-parents, Florida courts will consider the following three factors:

  1. Evidence supporting or rejecting the vaccination. While both parents will have the opportunity to explain their opinion on the subject of the COVID-19 vaccination, the court will want to hear testimony from the child’s doctor and other medical experts supporting or objecting to the immunization.
  2. Parental involvement. The court will also consider each parent’s involvement in the child’s care when determining whether the child should get the vaccine or not.
  3. Religious beliefs. The court is likely to side with the parent who does not want to have their child vaccinated if they have valid religious reasons for not giving their kids the vaccine.

If you want your child to be vaccinated from COVID-19 but the other parent refuses to have your child vaccinated, or vice versa, you should speak with a knowledgeable family lawyer to help you resolve your dispute. Contact Donna Hung Law Group for a case review. Call 407-999-0099.