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Vaccination and Child Custody

A young girl getting a vaccine at a doctor's office

Protecting Your Children

Many people already debate the pros and cons of vaccinations, and that has not changed with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine. As individuals across the country make decisions on whether or not to receive the vaccine, many parents are forced to face the question of whether or not to vaccinate their children.

This question is viewed in a different light for divorced parents. How does custody impact the decision to vaccinate a child?

Custody in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has provisions for both physical placement and legal custody. Physical placement refers to the child’s place of residence, while legal custody refers to decision-making power on behalf of the child. A decision on the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to the child would fall under the domain of legal custody

Who makes the decision on behalf of the child depends on the custody agreement. In some cases, such as those where a parent is abusive or absent, only one parent is given legal custody, but in a majority of cases, both parents are given a level of legal authority to make decisions for the child.

Working Out a Decision

If both parents hold legal custody and disagree on the vaccine, then it is first up to them to try to work out a solution that is best for their child. There are factors that may play into their decision, such as any potential school requirements or religious beliefs to keep in mind.

In some instances, it is appropriate for parents to attend mediation and work with a third-party mediator to work out a solution to a vaccine decision. In other instances, a parent could file for an emergency declaration of custody to obtain full legal custody over a medical decision, but whether or not this is possible is up to the judge to determine if your case qualifies for this type of declaration.

Working with a Rhode Island Attorney

Custody cases involving sensitive medical decisions can be incredibly taxing on all involved. Assalone Lombardi, LLC is committed to fighting for your custody rights in court with zeal and compassion.

Contact our Rhode Island attorneys today at (401) 589-5599 or visit us online to schedule a consultation.