The Covid-19 pandemic brought forward quite a few arguments and disagreements initially when masks were being used. Then when the vaccines were rolled out, there were even more arguments about the benefits, safety, and possible side effects of these vaccines. Even within families, there were disagreements about whether or not members were ready to get the vaccine administered.
In Australia, Children as young as five can now get vaccinated against Covid-19. However, in the case of children, the consent and decision to get vaccinated is a call made by parents. Family law experts have noticed that there have been more cases of disagreements between separated parents over whether or not their kids should receive the vaccine. Parents that are together have been seen to get to a decision more easily about this.
A Parent’s Woes
In most cases, the decision to get a child vaccinated is taken by both parents, but if they are on different pages, the situation can get rather tricky. Unfortunately, this is the case for John (Name has been changed), a father of a seven-year-old girl.
John has been vaccinated himself and now wants his daughter to get vaccinated too; however, his ex-wife is not onboard. She has not received the vaccine herself as she is still concerned about the safety of these vaccines and refuses to get her daughter vaccinated.
“It’s tough on me. I want my child to be vaccinated and safe if there is another variant or surge. But her mother is just not convinced, and now my hands are tied,” explained John. He further added, “She does believe this is for our daughter’s best interest, and we both want what is best for her, but sadly, we both have different ideas of what is best for her.”
What Do The Family Law Experts Have To Say?
John is not the only parent currently in this situation. Many others stand in his position and according to attorney Samah Abukhodeir from The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm, “One of the most difficult situations that we are seeing and have to tackle lately is when parents are divorced or separated but have joint custody of their child and cannot come to an agreement about whether or not the child should be vaccinated.”
It was further explained, “Both parents want to help their child and usually want to stay on good terms with each other, but it is a matter of whether or not they are willing to let go of their ideas and concerns to maintain a good relationship and keep the peace.”
Mediation Should Be Considered
To ensure that the discourse stays on track and does not deviate to unrelated topics, it must take place in a safe and organized setting, with a mediator.
It is advisable for parents in a situation like this to visit a trained family dispute resolution practitioner or mediator to ensure that it is a healthy discussion that is going towards resolution or compromise without creating a huge rift between both parents.
This is usually a significant and healthy first step to resolving any disagreements regarding children. But if two parties cannot come to a decision on their own and are not comfortable consulting a mediator, the next step is to file a motion with the Family Court.
Children Should Always Be The Priority And Should Be Sheltered
Although sometimes the involvement of a court may become inevitable, parents must always keep in mind the implication of this action on their child’s wellbeing. It is always a good idea to keep the kids out of the dispute and discussion. While their perspective on their matter is essential, at the end of the day, they are just kids, and any adverse scenario can influence and impact their minds.
It is always best to keep the children out of the courts and hearings unless their presence is necessary. The best thing to do is to get to an amicable decision outside of the courts and stay on good terms with your partner for the sake of your kids.