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Litigating COVID-19 Vaccines in the Family Law Context

Litigating COVID-19 Vaccines in the Family Law Context

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.

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