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How to keep my daughter un-vaccinated through a contentious divorce

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Currently my husband and I are in the process of divorce. Our only child, 4 yr old Jessie, is un-vaccinated by my choice. She did have Hep B at birth because I did not know any different at that time.

 

Essentially what it comes down to is that we have our first court hearing in 2 days and he is stating that she needs to be vaccinated. I am opposed that and other than having a philosophical and religious exemption to vaccination I do not know what to say to the judge. I can clearly state my philosophical and religious reasons for her to remain un-vaccinated. We were married in my church, although I have remained inactive in the church. He has also remained inactive in his religion.

 

I've done countless hours of research and absolutely want her to remain un-vaccinated.

 

I've also taken her to numerous dr's and specialists for a few other health issues that we cannot figure out the problem.

 

Any thoughts, advice would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 13

Try to work it out with your husband. Go over each disease, each vaccine, the risks of vaccinating compared to the risks of not for each disease and vax. Find a way to tell your husband that you need to find a way to agree on parenting and health/safety issues, even if you can't agree on how to stay married.

 

I would not leave this in the hands of a judge.

 

post #3 of 13



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie'sMom View Post

Currently my husband and I are in the process of divorce. Our only child, 4 yr old Jessie, is un-vaccinated by my choice. She did have Hep B at birth because I did not know any different at that time.

 

Essentially what it comes down to is that we have our first court hearing in 2 days and he is stating that she needs to be vaccinated. I am opposed that and other than having a philosophical and religious exemption to vaccination I do not know what to say to the judge. I can clearly state my philosophical and religious reasons for her to remain un-vaccinated. We were married in my church, although I have remained inactive in the church. He has also remained inactive in his religion.

 

I've done countless hours of research and absolutely want her to remain un-vaccinated.

 

I've also taken her to numerous dr's and specialists for a few other health issues that we cannot figure out the problem.

 

Any thoughts, advice would be greatly appreciated.


That's a tough one.  It would help a little if you were currently active in your religion, because there's a risk that your religious exemption will be seen as invalid.  It sounds like your husband may likely push the issue as one about medical safety, and family court judges tend to want to keep kids safe when there is a disagreement.  I suggest talking to a lawyer, and preferably one with some experience regarding disagreements over medical care and the set of issues surrounding vaccination, if you can find one.

 

You state that the child is un-vaccinated by your choice, which implies it was not by your husband's choice.  If that's true, you may have a little tougher problem depending on how the judge feels about the reasonableness of the choices involved.  If that's NOT true, though, you may have some luck convincing the judge that this is just a bargaining chip in the divorce.

 

If you bring up your countless hours of research, it would be better to take your information from well-established sources.  You might be better picking at the flaws in the mainstream research data than presenting data from holistic medicine sites, etc.  A lot of this issue may come down to how well-informed the judge is on vaccination, and the judge's personal feelings about vaccination, unfortunately. 

 

There may be some way you can convince your husband to agree to non-vaccination, by giving up something he considers valuable in the divorce (but hopefully that you consider of little value).  If you're going to have a divorce, it's best to keep everything as civil and non-aggressive as possible.

 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

We've been there. He refuses to listen to me...hence the divorce. His mother is a PhD and teaches pediatric nursing at a local university. She wants her grand-daughter fully vaccinated. His mother refuses to listen to anything I say regarding vaccines.

post #5 of 13

Would he agree to her only getting the vaccines he got as a child? That would probably only be DTaP, polio, and MMR. Maybe he would even agree to skip polio, since there hasn't been a case in the U.S. since 1979. Ask him how likely it would be for her to be the first person in 32 years to get polio in the U.S.? If there's an outbreak, she could be vaccinated then. Tell him that if he doesn't agree to just DTaP and MMR, that it will go to the judge, who may completely side with you, and say no vaccines at all. You could bluff, because I think the judge would side with him. In this, case I'd rather agree to DTaP and MMR than risk her having to get everything.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by UpToSomeGood View Post



 


That's a tough one.  It would help a little if you were currently active in your religion, because there's a risk that your religious exemption will be seen as invalid.  It sounds like your husband may likely push the issue as one about medical safety, and family court judges tend to want to keep kids safe when there is a disagreement.  I suggest talking to a lawyer, and preferably one with some experience regarding disagreements over medical care and the set of issues surrounding vaccination, if you can find one.

 

You state that the child is un-vaccinated by your choice, which implies it was not by your husband's choice.  If that's true, you may have a little tougher problem depending on how the judge feels about the reasonableness of the choices involved.  If that's NOT true, though, you may have some luck convincing the judge that this is just a bargaining chip in the divorce.

 

If you bring up your countless hours of research, it would be better to take your information from well-established sources.  You might be better picking at the flaws in the mainstream research data than presenting data from holistic medicine sites, etc.  A lot of this issue may come down to how well-informed the judge is on vaccination, and the judge's personal feelings about vaccination, unfortunately. 

 

There may be some way you can convince your husband to agree to non-vaccination, by giving up something he considers valuable in the divorce (but hopefully that you consider of little value).  If you're going to have a divorce, it's best to keep everything as civil and non-aggressive as possible.

 


Exemptions are used for school. They have no bearing elsewhere. They also are not weighed by recent/current activity in the church or temple or whatever.

 

 

 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie'sMom View Post

We've been there. He refuses to listen to me...hence the divorce. His mother is a PhD and teaches pediatric nursing at a local university. She wants her grand-daughter fully vaccinated. His mother refuses to listen to anything I say regarding vaccines.



Would he agree to go to therapy with you regarding this? You can find a therapist will help you listen to each other's concerns co-parenting as a divorced couple. And setting boundaries that MIL isn't a parent and that you shouldn't be trying to convince her of anything and your husband shouldn't be involving her.

 

post #8 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

Exemptions are used for school. They have no bearing elsewhere. They also are not weighed by recent/current activity in the church or temple or whatever.


In some states, the validity of one's religious exemption can be questioned if I recall correctly (and I usually do).  In front of a judge, sincerity of one's objections to vaccination can also be an important issue "or whatever".  Though the legal justification for not vaccinating one's child outside of a school would be constitutional, and not depend on state statutory law the way that school-based religious exemptions do, the issues involved would tend to be the same.

 

You're basically arguing by extension that apparent insincerity, or strength of a belief on a parenting issue, where there is a disagreement, has no place in divorce court and is never considered.  I guess you're entitled to your opinion.  My opinion is that it would help if the OP persuaded the judge that her beliefs on vaccination are heartfelt and consistent. {shrug}  If you have some advice for the OP, besides avoiding a judge which it sounds like she may not be able to do, it would be helpful to add it.

 

I would also think that therapy will not resolve this issue.  It will be essentially throwing money down a hole.  Mediation may work, or it may not.  If not a family court judge will be assessing the situation based on the best interest of the child, and may well listen to the grandmother-- and even give her opinion more weight as an expert on pediatric care, even if the judge doesn't come right out and say that from the bench.  Another thing that may happen is that the court may decide to go partly or wholly on the recommendation of a court ordered investigator (Guardian Ad Litem, or GAL) who would likely talk to everyone involved, including the grandmother.

 

Divorces can be tricky.  Barring some agreement on the vaccination issue, I would never assume that the court will fail to consider the parties' past parenting history!

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by UpToSomeGood View Post

Quote:


In some states, the validity of one's religious exemption can be questioned if I recall correctly (and I usually do).  In front of a judge, sincerity of one's objections to vaccination can also be an important issue "or whatever".  Though the legal justification for not vaccinating one's child outside of a school would be constitutional, and not depend on state statutory law the way that school-based religious exemptions do, the issues involved would tend to be the same.

 

How would the mother's religious beliefs matter when the custodial father's are different?

 

You're basically arguing by extension that apparent insincerity, or strength of a belief on a parenting issue, where there is a disagreement, has no place in divorce court and is never considered.  I guess you're entitled to your opinion.  My opinion is that it would help if the OP persuaded the judge that her beliefs on vaccination are heartfelt and consistent. {shrug}

 

What? I have no idea what you are referring to or how you came to that conclusion.

 

  If you have some advice for the OP, besides avoiding a judge which it sounds like she may not be able to do, it would be helpful to add it.

 

Avoiding a judge is her best chance at keeping her daughter not vaxed. That is her main goal. Why are you telling me how to help? OP is welcome to take and avoid whatever advice she likes. I am trying to help her meet her goal the "surest" way I know how. Unless OP gets full custody of her daughter, keeping her vax free is highly unlikey if left to a judge and the child's father.


I would also think that therapy will not resolve this issue.  It will be essentially throwing money down a hole.  Mediation may work, or it may not.  If not a family court judge will be assessing the situation based on the best interest of the child, and may well listen to the grandmother-- and even give her opinion more weight as an expert on pediatric care, even if the judge doesn't come right out and say that from the bench.  Another thing that may happen is that the court may decide to go partly or wholly on the recommendation of a court ordered investigator (Guardian Ad Litem, or GAL) who would likely talk to everyone involved, including the grandmother.

 

Therapy might give OP and her husband tools on how to parent jointly even though they are not married. Given their polarized views and the father's involvement tof his mother, it could be very helpful. Mediation would give them a potential short-term agreement, but no real way to cotinue co-parenting. And if they agreed in mediation to leave dd non-vaxed, the father could still go against that agreement and get the child vaxed. Maybe because his mother said "do it... your dd will be safe and nothing can be done to you for protecting her". No mediation agreement or court order will stop the father from vaccinating his daughter if he really wants to. If OP's goal is to protect her child from getting vaxed, the best approach is to have her and her husband learn how to co-parent without a bunch of outside involvement.

 

Divorces can be tricky.  Barring some agreement on the vaccination issue, I would never assume that the court will fail to consider the parties' past parenting history!

 

I would never assume anything. That's why parents should keep parenting issues between them if at all possible.



 

post #10 of 13

You already did assume it.  I sense backpedaling.  'Nuff said.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by UpToSomeGood View Post

You already did assume it.  I sense backpedaling.  'Nuff said.


What?

post #12 of 13

I second the WHAT?? I just reread this thread about 6 times - I see no assumptions being made, just suggestions on things to try that may help OP which as was pointed out the OP is free to follow up on or not. If you are referring to the statement that exemptions have no bearing anywhere but school as an assumption, I see guess I see your point, however I still don't see this as an assumption. Technically exemptions are not legally needed for anything but school.  I do agree with you however that it would be a good idea if the OP were to present in court siting religious objections that those objections are sincere. I think that goes without saying.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UpToSomeGood View Post

You already did assume it.  I sense backpedaling.  'Nuff said.



 

post #13 of 13

I wish I could give you any hope. However, having gone down that road with my child, I can assure you: You will have to do this and a load of other things because judges don't care and will go with whatever is recommended by the American Pediatrics Assoctiation. Also, if you are too stubborn on certain issues, your ex can take your kid(s) away from you. 

 

I know you don't want to hear this: but you will have to swallow this one. Let's hope this is the only issue. Men sometimes do these kinds of things just to piss you off. He probably doesn't care either way, just wants to jerk you around. 

 

Good luck!

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