What Happens When Divorced Parents Don’t Agree on Vaccinations? (Pt 1)

Divorcing parents need to address the issue of vaccines when preparing for their futures post-divorce.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen some of the vaxxers versus anti-vaxxers debate online. Although debate is probably too mild a word. It’s a full blown war, with people hurling verbal bombs at one another on Facebook like they’re getting paid for it. So you can probably imagine just how hostile it gets when a couple gets divorced, and they can’t agree on whether or not to vaccinate their kids.

Immunizations are a very controversial topic during a divorce!

The average divorce can get really confrontational, and that’s just while the parting parents figure out custody and child support. There’s nothing to prepare you for how toxic it gets when the parents engage in a battle of who’s-right-and-who’s-wrong about vaccinations. If one parent doesn’t believe in immunizing their kids, they’ll accuse the parent who does want the shots of poisoning their children, being abusive, or being a bad parent. Of course, the other side of the argument always includes accusations of phony science, medical neglect and yup, you guessed it… bad parenting.

Why would parents be against immunizing their kids?

Since the mass production of the first vaccine (for smallpox) in 1798 by renowned physician and scientist Edward Jenner, people have been inoculating their children against communicable diseases whenever possible. It wasn’t until 1998, when Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper linking vaccines and autism in children, that vaccinations began to fall out of favor. (The paper has since been discredited, in case you were wondering!) Although the majority of parents in the west still choose to inoculate their children, there is a small but growing group of “anti-vaxxers”, which studies have linked to the recent rise in communicable diseases previously thought to be almost eradicated.

Parents need to be willing to work together on this.

Here’s the truth, though – if you and your spouse can’t work out the details of your children’s medical care during the divorce process, the court will step in and do it for you. That means you won’t get to decide what you think is best for your child’s health, the family court will make that decision for you. And a judge may not make the decision you want for your child. However, being willing to compromise may mean you don’t get what you want anyway. So there’s a lot to consider in this issue.

Dealing with vaccinations during divorce can make for a big struggle.

Join us next time for a breakdown on what the court usually does when parents don’t agree on vaccinations in MIchigan. Until then, if you’ve got questions about your divorce, or have issues with your custody agreement, come in and talk to our skilled and experienced family law attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to help you figure out what’s best for your family. Just call 866 766 5245 and make use of our free initial consultation – you’ll be glad you did.

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