Litigating COVID-19 Vaccines in the Family Law Context

Litigating COVID-19 Vaccines in the Family Law Context

Posted on 01/06/2021 at 04:47 PM by Regan Wilson

Under Iowa law, there are two types of legal custody: joint and sole. With sole legal custody, a parent has the ability to make all decisions regarding the child’s education, extracurricular activities, medical needs, and religious instruction without any input from the other parent. That is, if a parent has sole legal custody, they can make the decision for the child to get the COVID-19 vaccine without consulting the other parent. Because sole legal custody provides one parent with considerable power, it is often only awarded in cases where there is a history of domestic abuse.

The more common form of legal custody is joint where both parents have equal participation in the child’s education, extracurricular activities, medical needs, and religious instruction. In joint legal custody, neither parent has legal custody rights superior to the other parent, which creates stalemates when the parties are unable to compromise.

When an impasse arises, such as whether the child should be vaccinated, what is the correct course of action? The Iowa Court of Appeals recently acknowledged this dilemma in In Re Marriage of Rigdon, 2020 WL 7868234 (Iowa Ct. App., Dec. 16, 2020). In Rigdon, the parents disputed whether their child should be administered psychotropic medicine. After failing to reach an agreement, the custodial parent proceeded with allowing the child to take the medicine. In response, the non-custodial parent filed a contempt action alleging the custodial parent violated his joint legal custody rights.

In Rigdon, the Iowa Court of Appeals suggested that the better course of action may have been for the court to decide the dispute before any further action was taken. That option, however, can be expensive and cumbersome for legal custody disputes that need immediate resolution. If you need advice in how to handle a legal custody dispute, feel free to contact Regan Wilson at Dickinson Law.

 

Questions, Contact us today.

 


The material, whether written or oral (including videos) that is posted on the various blogs of Dickinson Law is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. The opinions expressed in the various blog posting are those of the individual author, they may not reflect the opinions of the firm.  Your use of the Dickinson Law blog postings does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C. or any of its attorneys.  If specific legal information is needed, please retain and consult with an attorney of your own selection.

Comments
There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field