Vaccinations have finally reached their moment in the sun. The pandemic and subsequent vaccinations have pushed the topic of vaccinations to the forefront, and it is an important topic by all accounts. If you and your ex are at odds on the subject of your shared children’s vaccinations, you likely have concerns about your parental rights on the matter, and an experienced Williamson County divorce attorney can help you get to the bottom of it.
In Texas, child custody is essentially divided into both physical and legal custody. Legal custody refers to who makes important life decisions on behalf of the children, including decisions about their healthcare, which includes vaccinations. As such, if you have sole legal custody, your question is answered, and the matter of vaccinating your children is yours to decide – so go ahead and book their appointments. It is more common, however, for both parents to share legal custody, which means that you are going to have to dig a bit deeper.
If You Share Legal Custody
If you share legal custody, you will very likely need to address the matter of vaccinations with your ex. The stress of the pandemic we have been slogging through has left everyone on edge, and the issue of vaccinations – once a fairly neutral topic – has become especially divisive. Another important point to make is that there really are no compromises when it comes to vaccinations; you either get them or you do not. The first order of business – if you and your spouse share legal custody and you disagree on the matter of vaccinations (of any kind) – is carefully reviewing your custody order with your divorce attorney.
Your Custody Orders
Your custody orders may contain further information about how situations like this should be handled. Consider the following:
Some custody orders give the children’s pediatrician tie-breaking authority. This means that if you and your ex cannot agree on the matter of vaccinations, your children’s doctor will make the decision for you, and you can rest assured that he or she will be in favor of all medically appropriate vaccinations.
Some custody orders give one parent tie-breaking authority but only after discussing the matter with the other parent.
Some custody orders give one parent final decision-making power on specific topics like healthcare, and if this applies to you, you can feel free to move forward with those vaccinations.
If none of these apply to your situation, it is time to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.