Southern California parents often feel passionate about their children’s medical care. Especially in recent years, vaccines have been one hot topic in pediatric medical care.
Some parents in Riverside County feel like vaccines are an essential part of a child’s health care and not to give a child a recommended vaccine would be negligent, even dangerous.
Other parents might feel with equal passion that giving a vaccine is dangerous, and the responsible thing to do is refuse it for their children.
Ideally, two parents, even if living apart, will at least be in line on their feelings about this issue. However, if they are not, one parent may feel the need to protect their interest in a child custody proceeding.
Doing so may involve addressing the issue at the outset of a family law case or by requesting to modify an existing plan.
With joint legal custody, parents are supposed to agree on medical decisions
The vaccination of a child is a medical decision, so parents with joint legal custody are supposed to make it together. Joint legal custody is a standard custody arrangement in California.
If on the other hand only one parent has legal custody, then that parent makes the decision. If they do not like the decision, the other parent will have to convince a court to change their custody orders, and that could take some time.
Parents who have joint legal custody but do not agree about a vaccination may have to try mediation or some other way to resolve their differences.
If they cannot, then a parent will have to convince a court that what they want for their child is in the child’s best interest. The court will consider a number of factors when making this decision.
The court would have a number of options, including taking legal custody away from one of the parents or ordering that a parent’s wish about vaccines be carried out.
As with any custody matter, how a court decides a case will depend a lot on a family’s circumstances. A parent will need to understand how their legal rights would apply to their situation.