Covid-19 Vaccine and Custody

My name is Attorney Anthony Spratley, I am the owner and founder of Genus Law Group. We practice family law throughout the state of New Mexico. 

If you or anyone you know may be interested in New Mexico family law content or needs help with a divorce or custody case, our family law library, our FAQ section or our video library have tons of great info on New Mexico family law and divorce. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you are looking to talk to an attorney about a specific matter, please contact our Albuquerque attorneys at 505-317-4455 or chat with an online representative today. 

As many of you know, a lot of the mask mandates at least here in New Mexico are being lifted. This is primarily due to rates of vaccinations rising not only in New Mexico but across the country. New Mexico is doing very well in regards to vaccinating its population. Already we have seen about 50% of the population receive at least one or two doses, so I think we are heading in the right direction here in New Mexico.

I Want My Child to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine But the Other Parent Does Not, What Can I Do?

How can vaccine conflict affect my child custody, time-sharing agreement, or parenting plan? As we know the FDA has approved that children as young as 13 can receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Many people are strong supporters of vaccinations for children but there are some people who do not support the idea. Arguments can be made on both sides, but what do you do for your own child in regards to your custody case? If you have a young child and you want that child to get vaccinated, but the other parent does not want to go through with the vaccination, it is crucial that you come to an agreement sooner rather than later. You must communicate with the other parent about the vaccination and make a decision. If this is unattainable, the next step will be for you to address this matter in court. However, putting this in the hands of the court may be overwhelming. 


Will I Have to go to Court to Ensure my Child is Vaccinated?

In my experience, there have been cases where one parent did not want the child to be vaccinated with not only the Covid-19 vaccine but other essential vaccines as well. The other parent that wanted the vaccination knew that it was a requirement for that child to go to school. Without some sort of well-rounded reasoning such as a legitimate religious belief there is a chance that the child cannot be exempt from vaccinations. 

The last time I dealt with a similar situation the judge stated how he would rule even before the hearing began because NM courts use the standard of “best interest of the child” when making custody determinations. The science is present and most judges will use that knowledge to approach these things in order to make an informed decision. I am not a medical doctor, but it is evident that there is support for vaccinations due to the vast amount of data with regards to safety and effectiveness. 

In this case, both parents were able to voice their concerns about the health and safety of the child and not solely about whether or not to get their vaccinations. They agreed that the vaccination would be in the best interest of the child. Ultimately, the court issued an order that both parties stipulated to (meaning both parties came to an agreement) and it was determined that the child should receive the vaccination. 

Science supports the safety of the covid-19 vaccine. But still, there are some parents that are for the Covid-19 vaccine and other parents that are against it. The parent that does not want the vaccination does not have science on their side to help their position on the matter, especially with regards to a 13-year-old child or older for that matter. If the vaccine becomes safe and available for younger children, science will not be on the side of the parent who is against the vaccination. 

If you find yourself in a disagreement about custody, timesharing, how to reach agreements, or how to co-parent, contact us at 505.317.4455 or chat with one of our live associates to set up your consultation with one of our New Mexico custody attorneys.  Also, you can tune into our Protect Your Success podcast, or check out our family law library for more great content. If you need help with a specific situation, contact us.

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond