Child Custody Gets Complicated Because of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Posted on March 31st, 2021

Child custody is never a smooth process, especially during a global pandemic. But now, instead of parents worrying about the common issues of pickup times and locations, parents now have the added factor of, did my ex get vaccinated? At Kalinoski Law Offices, we know child custody is complicated, and because of the controversy of COVID-19 vaccinations, it’s only made matters more difficult.

When One Parent Wants the Vaccination and the Other Doesn’t – COVID-19 Vaccinations

While no one can force you to get a COVID-19 vaccine, it can actually complicate your child custody and visitation rights. For example, say both parents are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine right now; the mother gets the vaccine to protect herself and her family; the father decides he does not want the vaccine.

When there was no vaccine, the parents worked out a visitation schedule that was safe and in the best interest of the child. Now, there is a disagreement on the “best interest” because the mother believes that the dad should get the vaccine to add a layer of protection for the child they share custody of. He disagrees.

The court cannot make the father get the vaccination–but, if there is reason to believe his objection to the vaccine will hurt the child or impact the child’s best interest, the court can alter visitation and the custody agreement.

While these cases are only now beginning to emerge, what are parents to do?

Some family law experts suggest that if you are eligible for the vaccine and do not have a health condition or religious objection to it, you should get the COVID-19 vaccination. However, the choice is ultimately up to you. The best practice would be to talk to your ex about your concerns and then come up with a plan. And, if an agreement cannot be reached, seek legal counsel.

Other Child Custody Concerns in COVID-19 Era

Not only has the controversy of the COVID-19 vaccine caused concerns for couples who share custody but visitation rights have also been compacted by virtual school learning. For many families, the noncustodial parent may get extended visitation during the summer months when the child is out of school. However, with many districts still in virtual or hybrid learning models, some parents believe that the extended visitation schedule should begin now.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way to determine if this is the case for all families. This is why it is best to meet with a family law attorney who can navigate the specifics of your case and determine what custody arrangements are best for your child.

COVID-19 has complicated every area of life, and family law is no exception. However, Attorney Craig Kalinoski can help.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Child Custody Arrangements

COVID-19 has complicated nearly every facet of life–including your child custody and visitation arrangements. If you are facing issues with your ex, we can help file a petition for custody modification. Schedule a free consultation today, and we’ll help make sense of it all.

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Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

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