Vaccinating Your Child When You Have Joint Legal Decision-Making

Vaccinations with joint legal decision-making.

Vaccinating Your Child When You Have Joint Legal Decision-Making

Vaccinations have long been a contentious issue among the general population, with the Covid-19 vaccine making the matter even more heated. When it comes to their children, parents, particularly those that are divorced, may butt heads on which vaccines to give, and when.

If a parent has been awarded sole legal decision-making of their child, it is considered best practice to consult with the other parent before making major decisions regarding their child, but they ultimately have the authority to choose whether or not to vaccinate their child. This also applies for parents who were granted joint legal decision-making with final say.

But what happens when parents with joint legal decision-making disagree about which vaccinations to give their child? In this case, both parents by law are given equal weight when it comes to making decisions about their child.

It is never recommended for a parent to vaccinate their child behind the other parent’s back. Violating court orders, such as those involving legal decision-making and parenting plans, can have significant ramifications. The parent may find themselves held in contempt of court, which can potentially lead to fines, orders to pay the other parent’s attorneys fees incurred as a result of the related court proceedings, and even a court-ordered modification of the legal decision-making or parenting plan ruling.

Instead, when parents with joint legal decision-making disagree over whether or not to vaccinate their child, they should speak with their child’s pediatricians and employ the use of a mediator to help reach an agreement. This allows both parents’ voices to be heard in the final decision.

If parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, the issue can end up being decided in court. In this case, the judge will ultimately make the final decision regarding whether or not to vaccinate, always considering the child’s best interests and not necessarily the wishes of the parent.


Rideout Law Group handles cases throughout the entire state of Arizona, with offices located in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. Our attorneys are experienced in handling legal decision-making cases. For a free consultation, call 480-584-3328.

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