Most Maryland residents are aware that divorce and custody cases often take a turn for the worse. Even so, most people assume that their own child custody case will not follow a similar path. Far too many parents are shocked or blindsided when their spouse decides to take an aggressive stance on an issue that was never presented as a problem throughout the marriage. An example is found in a West Coast case in which a mother could spend time behind bars for refusing to comply with a court order.
The case centers on the issue of immunization. The couple shares a 9-year-old son, and when the boy was an infant they agreed to spread many of his vaccinations over a period of time in the belief that multiple vaccinations pose a risk of harm. In fact, they eventually stopped taking the child in for any vaccinations at all.
When the couple began moving through their divorce process, the father presented opposition to the mother’s insistence that her son not be vaccinated. The judge in the case awarded primary custody to the mother. During the same hearing, the judge also ordered that the child’s shot record be brought up-to-date within a very short period of time.
That leaves the mother in a difficult position that many Maryland parents can relate to. She must choose between going against her long-held belief that vaccinating her child puts him at risk of harm, or opposing the child custody court order and risking being held in contempt of court. As of the time of this report, an additional hearing is scheduled in the matter. The mother plans to present her argument to the court and hopes to retain her right to make medical decisions on behalf of her child. If she is unsuccessful, she will have to make a decision regarding whether to stand by her principles and risk jail time or take her child in for what could be as many as eight shots within a short span of time.
Source: CBS Detroit, “Oakland County Mother Faces Tough Decision: Vaccinate Your Child Or Go To Jail“, Sept. 28, 2017