Divorced Parents Are Clashing Over COVID-19 Vaccines

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July 12, 2021 -- Now that the COVID-19 vaccines are disposable for children ages 12 and older, immoderate divorced parents are facing a challenge: What to bash erstwhile 1 genitor wants the kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the different genitor doesn’t.

This is the concern facing Michelle Roy-Augustin*, a divorced ma of 2 sons, ages 12 and 10, who lives successful Los Angeles. While her ex-wife wants their 12-year-old-son to get vaccinated close away, Roy-Augustin would alternatively wait, arsenic immoderate teenagers, albeit rarely, person had heart inflammation aft their 2nd dose of the Pfizer oregon Moderna vaccine, according to the CDC.

“I’d similar to hold for determination to beryllium a larger illustration size of kids getting the vaccine to spot if determination immoderate different problems,” says Roy-Augustin. She says that she and her ex-wife are vaccinated and that the 2 person ne'er disagreed astir immoderate of the different vaccinations their sons person received passim their childhood.

“This is the archetypal clip we’ve disagreed astir thing similar this. We’ve been remarkably connected the aforesaid leafage with astir of our co-parenting decisions -- until now.”

Ask divorcement attorneys, and they’ll archer you that they’ve litigated plentifulness of vaccine issues betwixt ex-spouses lately. But the instrumentality is clear: Generally speaking, if the parents aren’t divorced oregon surviving nether an order, either genitor tin springiness consent for a kid to beryllium vaccinated, says Jennifer S. Hargrave, a divorcement lawyer astatine Hargrave Family Law successful Dallas.

“However, erstwhile the parents abstracted and are surviving nether a parenting bid [such arsenic a divorcement decree], the bid volition govern which genitor has the rights to determine connected a child’s aesculapian care, including ‘invasive aesculapian procedures’ specified arsenic vaccines, since these puncture the skin,” she says.

Depending connected the agreement, the close to consent to this benignant of process requires some parents to agree. In different words, if 1 genitor does not hold to it, past the different genitor tin halt the kid from getting the vaccine, Hargrave says.

“The different genitor tin inquire the tribunal to usage their judgement to measurement successful and find whether the kid should person the vaccine,” she says.

For Roy-Augustin, the to-vaccine-or-not dialog with her ex-spouse remains ongoing -- and stressful.

“I substance my ex studies astir the broadside effects of the vaccine, but I uncertainty she reads them,” she says. “My ex operates successful a authorities of changeless wellness anxiety. I deliberation she’s assuming the schools volition mandate the vaccine and past I’ll person nary choice.”

Until the COVID-19 vaccine becomes mandatory -- if that happens, that is -- neither genitor should unilaterally motion disconnected connected a child’s vaccine without the other’s consent, says Chantelle A. Porter, a household instrumentality lawyer astatine A. Traub & Associates successful Lombard, IL.

“It’s champion to pass the different genitor if you person the sole decision-making work oregon get consent from your ex-spouse if you person associated decision-making,” she says.

If you inactive can’t travel to a solution and you stay successful 2 abstracted vaccine camps, with neither enactment adjacent coming adjacent to a concession, you mightiness see sitting down with your child’s pediatrician oregon a mediator.

“I judge it helps for some parents to beryllium down and person a speech with an adept astir the pros and cons of the vaccine,” Porter says. “It’s besides a neutral spot wherever you tin rise immoderate concerns you mightiness have.”

As for Roy-Augustin, she’s hoping to determine by the fall.

"We present person millions of kids getting their 2nd shot,” she says. “If determination aren’t immoderate problems by October, past I volition see it -- but possibly the J&J and not 2 shots?”

Three Ways to Bridge the COVID-19 Vaccine Gap

If you and your spouse conscionable can’t determine whether oregon not to person your kid vaccinated against COVID-19, you should find a mode to sermon this maturely, due to the fact that this contented isn’t going to vanish overnight, says Elizabeth Cohen, PhD, a objective scientist successful backstage signifier successful New York City and writer of Light connected the Other Side of Divorce.

Below, Cohen, besides the self-described “Divorce Doctor,” suggests 3 ways to champion pass astir this:

1: Separate your feelings for your ex from your co-parenting responsibilities

In fact, your extremity should beryllium to rethink the full mode you’re talking to your ex, Cohen says. “Ask yourself: ‘If I was negotiating with a concern partner, however would I attack this situation?’” she suggests. “Yes, your ex is idiosyncratic you person apt had a agelong past of not feeling heard. And, yes, this is playing into your conversations with your ex, but you person to enactment those feelings speech for the involvement of resolving this.”

2: Stay factual

Avoid saying things like, “‘You always’ oregon ‘You ne'er cared astir the kids’ aesculapian worldly before, wherefore bash you attraction now?’” Cohen suggests.

“Instead, beryllium precise wide astir wherefore you consciousness similar this is the close decision,” she says. “Again, explicate it arsenic if you were talking to a neutral idiosyncratic and instrumentality immoderate affectional connection retired of the discussion.”

3: Respect your ex’s constituent of view

It tin beryllium precise challenging, but it’s precise important to travel from a spot of respect for the different person’s opinion, Cohen says.

“Remember, your ex feels conscionable arsenic powerfully astir this arsenic you do,” she says. “Ask him oregon her to explicate however they came to their decision. Remember: Your underlying choler and resentment towards this idiosyncratic has thing to bash with whether your kid should get the vaccine -- oregon not.”

*Name has been changed for privateness purposes

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