Divorced Parents & Child Vaccinations: Guiding Your Decision-Making
Covid-19 vaccinations are on our minds as older Americans are inoculated throughout the country. Teachers have also been prioritized in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties for vaccination so that kids can get back to in-person learning. While some jurisdictions are still learning virtually, most districts in Florida are back to in-person learning or hybrid learning with in-person instruction a few days a week. The question on many parents’ minds is when will kids be eligible for a vaccine. For some divorced parents, cooperating on the decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate a shared child is a tall order. If you are concerned for your child’s health regarding Covid-19 protocol, in-school instruction, or vaccinations, contact our attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. for assistance.
Vaccinations & Relaxed Social Distancing
Now that over 6 million people have been vaccinated for Covid-19 in Florida, many people think that social distancing restrictions can be relaxed. Similarly, states like Texas and Florida no longer have state-wide mask mandates compelling patrons to wear a mask in public. Despite an increase in vaccinations, herd immunity has not been reached. Because there is still a significant danger of contracting the virus, it’s important that blended families and co-parents keep a united front and continue to wear masks and observe social distancing. Similarly, it’s important that both parents reinforce rules relating to in-person learning, like washing your hands before and after eating and after using the bathroom and after you sneeze and maintaining six feet of space from others whenever possible. Both Pinellas and Hillsborough County Schools require students and faculty to wear a mask despite the lift of the mask mandate for the safety of the entire school body.
There is no clear guidance from the CDC or the FDA regarding child Covid-19 vaccinations. Right now there are several vaccines on the market, but the patient has no choice in which vaccine they receive, and no trial studies were completed on pregnant women or children under 18. Moderna just announced that they will begin vaccine trials on children under 12, and it’s very likely that the other vaccine manufacturers will follow suit.
Effective Communication with a Co-Parent
So, with a child Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon comes the great debate for families and divorced parents. Will your child be vaccinated, can your school compel your child to be vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes, and what do you do if your ex-spouse disagrees with your stance? There is no clear guidance from local schools yet about compelling students to be vaccinated for Covid-19. However, it is highly likely that colleges will require vaccination for students to live on campus in close quarters. Similarly, public schools already require children to be vaccinated for Measles, Rubella, TB and other highly contagious viruses.
Moreover, if both you and your ex-spouse have shared legal custody over your child, this means you are required to make shared decisions regarding your child’s health, medical choices, schooling and religious preferences. This may mean discussing the issue openly and with cooperation. However, if you are at a stalemate with your spouse or are concerned about your child falling behind in school or contracting the virus due to your ex-spouse’s lackadaisical approach or child-rearing skills, you should consider having a discussion in the presence of an attorney. As a last resort, the court may get involved if a post-divorce custody modification is deemed necessary.
Call our Family Law Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A.
If you are concerned about your child’s academic future, health or welfare and feel your ex-spouse and co-parent is not making decisions in the best interest of your shared child, you should take decisive action. Our Tampa family attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. have experience in post-divorce modifications and mediation between parents. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and review your options.