At a time when the health of the nation is of paramount importance and everyone is striving to protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting coronavirus, protecting our children from other diseases has been and will continue to be an important decision for parents throughout their kids’ childhood.
Following divorce and separation it is necessary for parents to continue to make joint decisions in respect of their children’s welfare and upbringing, to include decisions about the children’s education, medical treatments and religion, for example.
Issues may arise, however, when one parent, because of their religious beliefs or lifestyle choices, may objects to vaccinations for their children.
What are your parental rights?
When parents are in dispute and an issue arises on which the parents cannot agree, an order of the court can be sought to determine a specific question in respect of the children’s upbringing. In these circumstances the directions provided by the court are recorded in a “Specific Issue Order”.
Can a court order the children to be vaccinated?
There is considerable case law on this issue and the court must take into consideration a number of factors as follows:
- the child’s welfare must be the paramount consideration of the court;
- any delay in determining the questions before the court is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare – in this case being the delay in receiving the vaccinations;
- the court shall have regard to the welfare checklist. This is a list of statutory factors expanding on what is in the child’s best interests; and
- the court shall not make any order unless it considers making an order is better for the child than making no order at all. In this case the parents do not agree, and it is therefore necessary for the court to become involved.
How do I make an application for a specific issue order?
Please get in touch with our family law experts at Moore Barlow and we can advise you on your legal parental rights for your child.