vaccinating a child

Vaccinating a child in NC when parents disagree – Raising a child is a tough process and parents often tend to disagree on several details of how to go about it. These disagreements become even more complicated when the parents are no longer in a relationship, and they are splitting time with the child.

Along these lines, one hot topic issue is vaccinating a child.  Some parents believe it is absolutely necessary and some parents believe that it does more harm than good.  Who is right and who is wrong is not for us to decide in this blog, we strictly wish to discuss the conflict inherent with this disagreement. Because of this, in this blog, we will talk about what happens in a custody case when parents disagree on what to do in this regard.  Like all of our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

What if parents are together and don’t agree on vaccinating a child?

North Carolina family courts will not get involved in someone’s relationship without the “invitation” to do so by one party starting a legal action.  People who are raising a child without any sort of custody order or pending child custody case, are free to raise their children as they see fit, and they are left on their own to work out any conflicts this may have on how to properly proceed.

Vaccination decision after a child custody case is complete

A Child Custody case decides many things.  People are generally aware of physical custody, but the concept of legal custody is not often discussed.  Physical custody is the determination of where the child is physically present. More specifically, it dictates which parent has the child at any given time.  Legal custody is the power to make decisions about things such as:

  • Spiritual/religious teachings
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Medical care*

*The decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child would fall under the medical decisions portion of legal custody.

Who gets to make the vaccination decision determined?

This is something that either party can ask for and can be litigated during a child custody trial, or it is something the parties can agree upon via consent. At the end of the case, this is one of the many specifications that will be in the Child Custody order.

What if one the parents still refuses the vaccinations?

Typically, one parent cannot legally control how the other parent spends their time with the child, however, this is not the same as a voluntary breach of a court order.  Failing to follow a court order can lead to a case of civil contempt or criminal contempt.  There tends to be some very serious penalties tied to these actions, including possible jail time.

If you are in need of a family law attorney, contact us.  We handle family law matters in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

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