Vaccination and divorce

Major decisions such as non-emergency medical treatment, counseling, school choice and religious upbringing often come up between custodial parents’ post-divorce. If only one parent has sole custody, they are able to make all the decisions and are deemed the “custodial parent”. It has become more common over the last 30 years for parents to have joint custody.

Some parents have disagreements over whether or not to vaccinate their children with typical vaccines such as MMR, hepatitis, DTaP, flu, etc. Reasons may include religious, safety concerns, etc. With the recent approval of the Covid-19 vaccine for children over the age of 12 years old, disagreements over vaccination are appearing between divorced parents.

There are also studies being done to vaccinate children younger than 12. Some parents (about 29%) are very against giving their child the vaccine. People that are questioning the vaccine are often firm in their strong beliefs. It may be because they are anti vaccination in general, or they may be specifically opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine. This presents issues as the other parent may believe it is in the child’s best interest to be vaccinated, or the child’s school may require it. If the custodial parents are unable to come to a decision, the courts may have to intervene.

In the event of a vaccination disagreement going to court, the court will be looking out for the best interest of the child. They will explore different aspects of the case, including the reasons why the parents are for or against vaccination, health risks, school requirements and a pediatrician’s opinion.

If a couple is not yet divorced but finds vaccination to be a source of contention as parents, this could bring up issues in a custody battle.

If you are dealing with a contentious divorce issue like this, where you believe you doing what is in the best interest of your child (but you feel your spouse or ex is not) then it is best to locate a divorce and family law attorney who is well suited to assisting you in defending your rights and the well-being of your child either through mediation or litigation.

At Amaral & Associates P.C., we understand that dealing with these problems during and after a divorce can be challenging. If you or someone you know are thinking about getting a divorce or other family law matter, and reside in Massachusetts, please call Amaral & Associates, P.C. at (617) 539-1010 or visit us at for information about what your next steps should be and whether mediation or a traditional divorce is the best option for you.

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