Vaccination dispute at center of child custody case

When a Georgia couple goes through a divorce, there are a number of issues that can lead to an emotionally fraught battle between the parties. None of these issues are more impactful than those surrounding shared children. Parents often engage in lengthy and stressful court proceedings over the care and custody of shared child. An example is found in a high profile child custody case in which the issue of vaccinations has taken center stage.

The couple involved are unable to see eye to eye concerning their son's vaccination. As part of their divorce and child custody proceeding, the mother was given primary custody of the boy. However, in the hearing preceding that order, the father raised concerns over the child's vaccination record. The judge in the case issued an order that the mother obtain all proper vaccinations within a short period of time.

The mother is against vaccination, a view that she once shared with her former husband. When the boy was an infant, the couple chose to spread out his vaccinations over a period of time, in the belief that doing so was a safer course of action. They eventually ceased all vaccination efforts altogether. Now, the father has changed his position on the matter, and the court backed up his determination to have his son vaccinated.

That leaves the mother in a difficult position. She can take her son, now 9 years old, to have eight shots over a period of less than one week. Or, she can choose to fight the matter, placing herself at risk of being jailed for failing to comply with a court order. Recent reports indicate that she plans to fight the matter, and a hearing is scheduled.

For Georgia parents, this story serves as a cautionary tale of how divorce and child custody case can quickly become far more difficult than imagined. It is unclear whether the father's insistence that his child be vaccinated is the result of a change in his beliefs about the safety of immunization, or simply a convenient way to cause additional distress to his former wife. Unusual issues can come into play during any child custody case, leaving parents in need of a skilled family law attorney.

Source: CBS Detroit, "Oakland County Mother Faces Tough Decision: Vaccinate Your Child Or Go To Jail", Sept. 28, 2017

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