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Michigan Family Law Blog

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Will a Divorce Court Order a Child to Get Vaccinations?

In recent years, Oakland County Michigan divorce attorneys often hear about cases where divorced or divorcing parents disagree about whether their child or children should be given various vaccinations.  Where the parents are still married it is clear that neither parent can force the other parent to have the child vaccinated.  In some instances, this disagreement becomes intense enough that one of the parents will consult a divorce attorney and ask the following question.

If I File for Divorce, Will the Court Order That We Must Vaccinate Our Children?

A recent case out of Oakland County, Michigan, Matheson f/k/a Schmitt v Schmitt, Mich App Unpublished Opinion Docket No. 347022 (November 21, 2019), examined that issue.  In that case, the parents to the child therein divorced in April of 2016.  In February of 2017, the father filed a motion with the court requesting makeup parenting time and order that the child be vaccinated because the mother was refusing to allow it.

In that case, the mother claimed that she had the sole right to decide whether the child would be vaccinated.  However, as is true in most cases in Michigan, the parents shared joint legal custody which requires that the parties jointly share important decisions regarding the welfare  of the child.  The court held that vaccinations for a child is a significant medical decision and if the parents could not agree, then the court will determine the issue.  The court concluded that the vaccinations were in the child's best interests because it would protect the child from "a host of potential serious diseases, and the evidence did not establish that any vaccinations would be harmful to the child".  It then ordered that the parents would have their child vaccinated.  It seems likely that this would be the outcome in future cases as well.

Contact Our Michigan Divorce Lawyer Today

If you ’re experiencing marital issues or have questions regarding any aspect of family law, the legal team at Cameron C. Goulding Family Law and Mediation P.L.C. can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our office in Rochester, Michigan, we practice exclusively in the area of family law and provide legal services to families throughout Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, Wayne and Genesee counties.


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