Can the Court Make Me Vaccinate My Child?

April 17, 2017 | By Robert I Whitelaw, Maris J. Weiner

Vaccination has become a hot topic amongst parents who are involved in a divorce or child custody dispute. If one parent believes in vaccination and one parent does not, the decision to vaccinate your child may not be your decision to make.

While one parent may have primary or sole physical custody, most parents enjoy having joint legal custody of their child(ren). Legal custody in Pennsylvania is the right to make important decisions regarding your child(ren)’s religious, medical and educational issues. (Conversely, physical custody in Pennsylvania involves where a child will physically reside).

If you are a parent who does not wish to vaccinate your child, you likely know that you can file a vaccine exemption form with your child’s school based upon medical, religious or philosophical objections.

If, on the other hand, you are a parent that wishes to vaccinate your child, but you share legal custody with your child’s other parent, you may need to seek court intervention to help resolve this dispute. Court’s in Pennsylvania decide legal custody disputes based upon what is in the best interests of the child(ren). Court’s will look to more than a parent’s personal feelings and opinions in deciding a vaccination dispute.  Regardless of what side of the fence you are on with regard to the vaccination issue, you will likely need medical expert to testify to support your position. Your attorney can help you determine what witnesses meet the legal criteria to be considered an “expert” witness in your case.

Categorized In: Custody

About the Authors

Bob Whitelaw

Robert I Whitelaw

Partner

Bob is the co-chairman of the Family Law department and the Litigation department of Obermayer. He was the firm’s managing partner for 30 years and is still a member of the firm’s...

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Maris J. Weiner

Associate

Maris handles all aspects of family law litigation. Her practice focuses on the economics of premarital agreements, separation, divorce, unmarried partners, equitable distribution, support and alimony. She primarily works on traditional divorces...

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