Michigan Law requires that children have certain vaccinations to attend school. This has been the law for a long time but takes on new meaning with the current COVID-19 Pandemic crisis. Whether to get vaccinated or not has been such a politically charged issue that it could become weaponized in a custody dispute. Here is what the current law is on this issue.
Michigan Law requires that children are vaccinated by a certain age or when enrolling them in school. Parents must provide immunization records to the school but can obtain exemptions for medical and religious reasons. To obtain an exemption a parent must attend a class set up by the health department and obtain a certificate of completion.
Parents are considered fit by default if they have custody of a child. Only fit parents can object or consent to vaccination. Parents adjudicated as unfit no longer have the right to make these decisions. A court’s focus is always on the best interests of the children. Does the decision to vaccinate affect their custodial environment? The standard is more likely than not.
What if the parents don’t agree about whether to vaccinate the child? The first question is whether a court order exists that requires joint decision making. If one parent has chosen to vaccinate without the other parent’s consent, the violation of a court order may mean that the parent loses custody. A Parent objecting to vaccination must show that it would be harmful to the child or else the court may decide that vaccination is in the child’s best interest. Experts who have entered the political debate and lack required credentials may be denied ability to testify in court.
If you would like to know how to protect your right to make decisions about your child’s healthcare and your custody rights, contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law for a consultation.