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Co-Parents May Be in Standoff over COVID-19 Vaccinations

March 22, 2021

Chicago Family Law Attorney Encourages Parents to Find Common Ground about Protecting Their Children’s Health

Co-parents with opposing views may find themselves in a standoff over COVID-19 vaccinations. Whether its each parent agreeing to get vaccinated or their children once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children, this medical decision can become a new key source of tension.

Moderna announced this week it has begun conducting vaccine test trials with children under 12 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say while children may have fewer significant negative health outcomes from COVID-19 infections, it is important to vaccinate them due to virus mutations could develop in children and spread to adults.

According to a recent Monmouth University recent survey, 25 percent of adults are “unwilling” to get the vaccine. Allen & Glassman, Chartered Family Law acknowledges the poll results confirm vaccine decisions will add to the already mounting stressful Covid-19 parenting challenges that included remote learning, economic changes, stay-at-home orders, and different COVID rules between households.

“Co-parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought extreme challenges and hot button issues said Gemma Allen, partner with Allen & Glassman, Chartered Family Law. “Parents with different health or political views need to communicate about protecting their children’s health and find common ground. It is better to discuss this sooner rather than later.

Allen & Glassman partner Todd Glassman stressed parents set a good example for their children. “It is healthier and more productive to keep conversations from getting personal, accusatory or aggressive. Parents shouldn’t communicate through their children. This is a discussion between the two parents. If discussions become too heated, parents should seek advice or help with a pediatrician, family counselor or attorney.

Vaccination disagreements are nothing new but Allen and Glassman stress that having minor children receive the COVID-19 vaccine is unprecedented and could impact the following the following family future decisions:

Schools: Will parents be reluctant to send their children to school if not all children and teachers are vaccinated?

Parenting Schedules: Children’s vaccination status and in person vs. remote school status could impact parenting schedules for divorced/divorcing or separated parents.

Travel/Vacations: The and child’s vaccine status could impact traveling/vacation decisions and schedules for parenting time.

 Allen and Glassman noted parents should refer to their parenting agreements to see who was given the right to make medical decisions but that is not the end of the story. In various jurisdictions, court’s administrative rule and orders entered due to the pandemic may supersede or modify your court orders/agreements. If parents are unable to resolve these issues or do not understand their rights, they may need to receive legal advice.

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