May 5, 2015 By Paul Wallin
child vaccination
Deciding whether your child should be vaccinated?

One of the most difficult issues in family law is child custody. Whether you and the other parent of your child are married or not, you may be faced with very tough legal problems regarding your child. For instance, you and the other parent may not agree on how much time each of you spend with the child, what type of care should be provided to the child, and many other issues that affect the child’s everyday life.

One topic that is being hotly debated in society right now is the issue of child vaccination. If you and the other parent do not agree on whether your child should be vaccinated or not, this could complicate your child custody case. A child custody battle can already be frustrating and overwhelming for you, and that is why you need the help of an experienced family law attorney to represent you during this complex process.

When dealing with the issue of child vaccination in a child custody matter, you must first understand how child custody is defined. In California, child custody is divided into two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Each type of custody deals with different aspects of how your child is cared for by both parents.

Physical Custody Defined

Physical custody is how much time the child is physically with you and the other parent. The court can order one parent to have primary physical custody of the child, or physical custody can be held “jointly” between the parents. When making this order, the court uses the very broad legal standard of “what is in the best interest of the child.”

If one parent is determined to have primary physical custody of the child, the child is physically with that parent for a majority of the time (more than 50%), and that parent will mostly be responsible for the child’s everyday care and activities.

Although physical custody does not directly deal with the issue of child vaccination, it is very important that you know how it is defined and what it involves.

Legal Custody and Child Vaccination

Legal custody deals with the determination of which parent will be responsible in making the major decisions regarding the child’s welfare. For example, major decisions for the child’s welfare can include what school the child should attend, what extra-curricular activities the child should sign up for and what type of medical care the child should receive.

Similar to physical custody, the court can order one parent to have sole legal custody, or for both parents to be have joint legal custody. Generally, the courts prefer to order joint legal custody, so both parents can share the responsibility of making important decisions for the child’s welfare.  However, if joint legal custody is determined to not be in the child’s best interest, the court has the discretion to give sole legal custody to one parent.

In a child custody case, the decision on whether your child should be vaccinated depends on whether the parents have joint legal custody or if legal custody is held solely by one parent. If you and the other parent have joint legal custody, then the child can only receive vaccinations if both parents agree. If the child receives vaccinations when one of the parents is not in agreement with it, this is a direct violation of a court order and can result in serious consequences for such a violation, including losing custody or visitation rights with your child.

On the other hand, if one parent has sole legal custody, only that parent can decide on whether a child receives vaccinations.  In this situation, the other parent has no say, and the decision whether to vaccinate the child can be made without the other parent’s input.

The Child Custody Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are Ready to Help You

At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that going through a child custody case is difficult. The laws regarding child custody are complex and there are many factors that go into determining who will be awarded custody of your child. For this reason, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney immediately to help you prepare for your child custody case. Our knowledgeable attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully helping our clients in child custody cases. Let us help you today.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our skilled attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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