Whooping Cough and Custody

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

California just announced a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic. The overall incidence has increased as more people apply for vaccine exemptions. I have a new article on vaccination disputes in child custody cases.

A total of 9,935 cases were recently reported to the California Department of Public Health, the highest number in 70 years. Already, one infant has died from the disease, and cases are reported in schools across the state.

The California Department of Public Health recommends the pertussis vaccine (Tdap), but many parents object to vaccinations. Some objectors assert their individual liberties. Some parents are risk averse to the potential impact of vaccinations. Celebrity anti-vaccination campaigns confuse many, and some parents hold deep religious beliefs against immunization.

Religion is not an express factor for courts to consider in Florida custody cases. It is interesting how courts balance the highly sensitive issues of custody and religion.

There are two vaccination cases in Florida, and the facts in each were very similar. In both cases, the parents shared custody. Both involved chiropractors involved in their children’s health care. And, in both cases the health care professional parent opposed vaccinations. Surprisingly, the judgment in the two cases came out differently.

My new article briefly examines Florida’s parental responsibility statute, including the concept of ultimate authority, the two Florida cases in which the decision to vaccinate a child was an issue brought to trial, and traces the development of religion as a factor in parental responsibility cases in Florida.

The new article can be read here.