Wyoming lawyer discusses COVID-19 vaccines for kids with divorced parents

CNCHD staff load vaccines for one of their November clinics
CNCHD staff load vaccines for one of their November clinics(Bobbee Russell)
Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 4:22 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A COVID-19 vaccine is available for kids ages five to 11. Wyoming News Now met with Frank Chapman, a Wyoming lawyer, who explains who has the right to decide if the child gets the COVID-19 vaccine or not if the parents are divorced.

“If there’s been a custodial parent declared by a court they generally have the right to make health decisions. In Wyoming, there’s joint custody meaning many joint custody orders have a process that parents follow when they reach a subject like this where they don’t agree and they can petition the court,” Chapman said.

What happens if a non-custodial parent doesn’t want their child vaccinated?

“The non-custodial parent can petition the court and ask them to make an order. Courts generally follow facts and evidence and apply it to the law. People are entitled to their own opinions but we aren’t entitled to our own facts so the courts will look at the science and evidence put before the opposing parties and then make a decision. In this instance, it would be in the best interest of the child not of the parents,” Chapman said.

Any downsides to calling a court?

“In many jurisdictions around Wyoming, it takes months to get a hearing to have that kind of hearing, and quite frankly it’s pretty expensive to put on a case with regard to the science of immunization,” Chapman said.

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