Anderson & Boback Logo
vaccinate child without permission from ex

Can I Vaccinate My Child Without Permission from My Ex?

Published
Categorized as Child Custody

As Chicago child custody lawyers, we are getting a lot of these questions lately about being able to vaccinate a child without permission from the other parent. There is no easy answer to this question. Whether you need permission from your ex to vaccinate your child will be found in your parenting order.

Violating a Court Order When Your Vaccinate Without Permission?

If you need a joint decision for medical care, and you vaccinate without permission, you could subject yourself to contempt in court for violating a court order.

You might have already agreed with your ex that medical decisions will be made jointly. Or that one or the other has the sole decision making regarding medical decisions. Even if your ex has sole decision making for medical, if you believe that your ex isn’t acting in your child’s best interest, you can bring the matter to the court.

Taking a Vaccination Case to Court

I recently had my first case on the subject of whether a father could vaccinate his child when the mother was against it. In Jim’s case, he’d researched all the data and was absolutely convinced that not vaccinating his child would lead to more harm than good.

I had my case law research ready in addition to his research. I had an expert prepared to take the stand and I was prepared to argue the case Troxel v. Granville. (For those of you who want to read the full court’s opinion, just give me a call, but it is at 530 U.S. 57 (2000). This case gives parents a constitutional right to the care, custody, and control over their children. This is a fundamental right and in a family law court, we presume that parents will act in their child’s best interest.

But what do you do when both parents have that same fundamental right?

Each parent is presumed to be acting in their child’s best interest and there isn’t much middle ground on the subject. You cannot be “kind of vaccinated.” It is a lot like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t.
There isn’t much middle ground.

Should Courts Allow a Child to be Vaccinated or Not?

One way to convince the court that your child should be vaccinated is under the “serious endangerment” statute-750 ILCS 5/603.10-Restriction of parental responsibilities. Pursuant to this statute, if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent engaged in any conduct that seriously endangered the child’s mental, moral or physical health, or that significantly impaired the child’s emotional development, the court shall enter orders as necessary to protect the child.

Serious Endangerment to the Child

Because each parent is presumed to be acting in their child’s best interest, in order to take away a parent’s decision making on any one topic, you have to demonstrate that the activity or event that a parent wants to do is a “serious endangerment” to that child. This is a high burden.

We see a lot of parenting disagreements and when one parent wants to impose their will on the other parent, it is difficult. I’ve had the “health food” parent against the “junk food” parent, or the parent who doesn’t have a regular bed schedule vs. the parent who strictly makes the child go to bed at 8:00 p.m. Those issues seem easy in light of the medical decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

Many cases fall under this umbrella of serious endangerment which is easy for the court to determine. Sexual abuse of a minor easy falls under this statute taking away a parent’s right to see or make decisions for their child. A case where a custodial parent suffers from a mental illness and refuses medication to correct their behavior has also fallen into this category. I was prepared to argue this statute and the case was quickly decided.

Serious Endangerment Not to Vaccinate?

In family court, is that if there is even a suggestion that a parent’s decision could negatively impact a minor’s health, the judge will most likely err on the side of caution. My judge found that mom’s decision not to vaccinate wasn’t the safest choice and prohibited her from standing in the way of the vaccination. The court found that it would be a serious endangerment not to vaccinate.

Seek Advice from an Experienced Family Law Attorney

At Anderson & Boback, we’re passionate about solving complex family law issues for our clients and their families in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland area. Contact us today for a confidential consultation when you have questions or concerns about child custody matters including whether you can vaccinate your child without permission from your ex.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Wonder if your spousal maintenance is modifiable? This question was addressed in Scarp v. Rahman when the father in the case of sought to modify his maintenance obligation.  The trial court would not allow the modification so he sought an…

Birthdays are a big deal to kids - they usually get a party with their friends with cake, balloons, presents, and if they are lucky, a ball pit to jump into at Chucky Cheese! The day is all about them.…

Our firm represents a lot of military families and for the most part, handling a military divorce is just like any other divorce.  There are specific rules that need to be followed, however, and those parents in the military facing…

Changes to Spousal Maintenance Law in Illinois In 2019, a significant change in the tax code was made regarding maintenance, which resulted in spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”, also known as “spousal support”) being tax-free to the recipient and…

Illinois has modified its statutes wherein parents are now allocated “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” instead of “custody”.  The purpose of these changes was to try and give the parents less to fight over.  You can win “custody” but winning…

For Illinois parents that are no longer together or facing divorce, understanding the basics of child custody law is important. First, the term “custody” no longer exists in Illinois. The State of Illinois changed its laws regarding custody in 2016,…

RECENT POST
Categories
Archives
Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview
    ANDERSON & BOBACK

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870