When it comes to parenting, there are some common disagreements that can cause friction. This can be true for any parent, but when you’re going through a separation or divorce, it can become a significant challenge. Whether or not your child should attend private school, eat certain foods, or play contact sports, are just a handful of common disputes amongst parents. Recently, one source of conflict that has raised a lot of issues for divorcing parents is whether or not they should vaccinate their child. What do you do if you and your ex-spouse disagree on something so important? What happens if neither parent can agree on this? In this article, we explore both sides of the children’s vaccinations issue and how this issue has been resolved in the past.
We live in a world with a constant flow of communication and information. If you truly believe in something and you want it to be true, it’s easy to find details online that can support your opinion, regardless if it’s legitimate or not. This is what makes disputes like this so difficult to settle. There are a few commonly used arguments against children’s vaccinations that raise a lot of confusion and uncertainty around this issue. Research has shown that there are mainly four reasons why many parents will refuse immunizations: religious beliefs, personal or philosophical beliefs, safety concerns, or a desire for additional information. Each reason has its own primary set of details as to why a parent would want to stay away from immunizations.
It can be very difficult to reach a compromise when religious reasons are used against children’s vaccinations. Parents who have strongly held beliefs on the negative effects of Westernized medicines usually don’t waver on this. It has nothing to do with ignorance. It’s deliberate, planned, and it can sometimes feel disrespectful to argue with someone with these beliefs. Personal/philosophical beliefs can also fall into this category since religious and philosophical beliefs can both be powerful reasons. Medical concerns or a desire for additional information, on the other hand, can hold the possibility of debate. Parents who fall into this category are more likely to be open to discussing the issue and can sometimes reach an agreement. When a parent is open to hearing facts and figures, there is a stronger chance of compromise.
Anyone who has ever seen a person suffer from Polio would be more likely to get their child vaccinated. Despite the arguments against it, there’s no denying that these medical advances are a strong case for immunizations. Thousands of children died from debilitating diseases like Polio or Measles until these vaccinations were discovered. Every major health organization, pediatric association, and the CDC supports children’s vaccinations. It can be hard to argue against this issue when you have almost every doctor worldwide supporting the case for vaccines. But what happens in a parenting plan when you and your ex can’t agree on something this critical? The courts step in to decide for you.
In the state of Florida, this specific dispute was presented in 2011. In Winters v. Brown, the mother was against vaccinating the child, while the father was for vaccinating the child. In this case, the Florida District Court of Appeal in the Fourth District sided with the father. Numerous experts were called to the hearings to present cases on both sides of the vaccination issue. After much deliberation and discussion, the courts decided that there was sufficient evidence for the child to be immunized. Florida family courts will always base their decisions on the best interest of the child. While religious beliefs can present a strong case for the freedom to make many decisions, in this case, it wasn’t strong enough.
When parents divorce, issues like this can be difficult to resolve on their own. If both parents can’t negotiate a solution to these matters, Florida law requires that the courts approve a parenting plan. In a parenting plan, major issues, like vaccinations or other medical decisions, are assigned to one parent or the other. When parents can’t agree, the court will step in to decide who should be able to make these decisions for their child. If you’ve recently found yourself in a dispute over something as major as vaccinations, it might be time to contact an attorney to learn more about parenting plans. A law office can provide resources for you to understand how to move forward with disputes like this. Divorce and family law attorneys can help you to know if there’s potential for negotiation, or if it’s necessary to go to court. When it comes to important decisions regarding your child’s health, you need professional help. Contact a trusted attorney today to learn more about your options.
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