Child Custody and COVID-19 Vaccines
As COVID-19 persists in our daily lives, the war on vaccines rages on. Many parents continue to disagree about vaccination status concerning themselves and their minor children. Two parents who currently reside in New Brunswick, Canada, have found themselves in a heated disagreement with each other over vaccines and sought a judge to rule on the disagreement. The parents, who are not identified in the court ruling, separated in 2019 and share custody of their three children.
The judge in the case, Justice Nathalie Godbout, ruled last month in favor of the mother. The mother sought the court to order her to have sole custody of the children due to the father’s refusal to receive the vaccine. The father and his new wife had refused to receive the vaccine, despite his daughter’s ongoing treatment for non-cancerous tumors in her blood vessels. The mother was growing concerned given the daughter had become immunocompromised as a result of her treatment and her father was not vaccinated.
Justice Godbout ruled in the mother’s favor, noting that father could file an urgent request to regain custody if he gets vaccinated. In the meantime, Justice Godbout stated the father could video-chat or speak with the children on the phone as a means of remaining in contact with them during this time. Additionally, Justice Godbout ruled that the mother could move forward with vaccinating the children, despite the father’s lack of consent.
The father had presented his own research on the efficacy of vaccines, but this research was quickly dismissed by Justice Godbout. Despite the father’s attempt to convey his rationale for his decisions to the Court, Justice Godbout found the research unconvincing given public health officials had published advice stating otherwise.