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How Will Illinois Courts Address Parental Disagreements About the COVID-19 Vaccine?

 Posted on July 30,2021 in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Aurora divorce attorney - Child Tax CreditsWhen a couple with children divorces, that divorce does not end their involvement with each other. While they may no longer live under the same roof, they still need to co-parent in the most cooperative way possible. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can arise where the disagreements are so strong, the couple ends up back in family court.

One area where this often occurs is when it comes to medical decisions for the child. And now that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children 12 years of age and older, the divide between people who are for and those against the vaccine has made its way into parenting decisions.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Several years ago, Illinois lawmakers did a complete revamping of the state’s divorce and child custody laws. One of those changes even involved eliminating the term “child custody” and instead referring to it as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The scope of these parental responsibilities involves both parenting time and significant decision-making on behalf of the child. However, these two elements are treated separately.

Significant decisions include those regarding a child’s health care, education, and religion. There are three ways the court may allocate decision-making responsibilities:

  • Joint allocation: Both parents share in the decision making and need to be able to cooperate with each other in this process since they both have an equal say.

  • Sole allocation: Only one parent is granted the responsibility for making decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and religion.

  • Shared allocation: Similar to joint, however, the court may distribute decision making. For example, one parent may have sole decision-making regarding religion, while the other makes the decisions regarding the child’s education.

“Invasive” Medical Procedure

Any type of shot, including the COVID-19 vaccine, is considered an invasive medical procedure since the shot is given under the skin. This means the parent or parents who have been granted the decision-making responsibility for the child’s medical treatments would be the one to decide if the child should get the vaccine. Whether this is supposed to be a joint decision or sole decision, objections by the other parent should not be ignored if the parent feels they have a legitimate argument either for or against the vaccine.

Ideally, the parents should be able to discuss and come to an agreement, however, if both feel very strongly, they may not be able to compromise. Every parenting agreement should have a stipulation that says if parents cannot agree, then before heading back to family court, they seek out the assistance of a mediator to help break the gridlock between them. If mediation fails, then the next step is bringing their arguments to a family court judge.

Contact an Aurora Family Law Attorney

Vaccines and other medical issues are often the source of many parenting disagreements that result in the need of a skilled Kane County family lawyer. If you are having allocation of parental responsibility problems with your ex, contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to find out what legal recourse you may have. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation and find out how our legal team can help.


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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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