Now that Covid vaccines are approved for children that are 12 years of age and older, some Chicago divorced parents disagree over Covid vaccines. Specifically, some divorced parents disagree as to whether their children should receive the vaccine. Some parents disagree as to whether a child should spend time with an unvaccinated parent or other relative. If you find yourself in such a dispute, this article briefly discusses how you may resolve the matter.
The Allocation Judgment may help settle a dispute over Covid vaccines
The allocation judgment (“custody judgment”) should dictate whether one or both parents have authority over medical decisions. If both parents have decision-making authority on medical decisions and disagree about the vaccine, the dispute may need to be resolved quickly in court. Attorneys for disputing parents have filed several actions in Illinois divorce courts in recent weeks. In one very recent case, the judge granted a mother’s motion to modify the allocation judgment so that she would immediately have sole parental authority and could have her child vaccinated.
A Guardian Ad Litem May be Appointed
In some cases, the judges are ruling as to whether the child should receive the vaccine after appointing a guardian ad litem to investigate the best interests of the child. In other cases, a parent is filing a motion to modify the allocation of parental responsibilities to grant only one parent decision-making authority regarding the vaccine.
Courts often appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to conduct an investigation into the best interest of the child and assist the judge in deciding a parenting dispute. The duties of a GAL are in this Illinois statute. The GAL will likely obtain or confirm the opinion of the child’s pediatrician. Further, the GAL will interview the child and take into account the child’s wishes. Since the children who qualify for the vaccine are older children, the GAL and the Judge will likely give a lot of weight to the child’s wishes.
Another Example of When Parents Disagree Over Covid is When Parents are Unvaccinated
There is another way that Chicago divorced parents disagree over Covid vaccines. This other type of dispute that is showing up in Chicago divorce courts involves parents that are unvaccinated. One case that garnered media coverage involved an unvaccinated mother. The judge in that case barred the mother from in-person parenting time until she got vaccinated. The judge’s ruling was particularly surprising since the other parent did not ask the court to suspend the mother’s parenting time. The judge made the Covid vaccine-related ruling on his own volition (“sua sponte“). After the ruling was widely reported in the news, the judge reversed his ruling.