Divorcing parents are usually advised to go through the courts when dealing with matters pertaining to their children. This helps ensure that the child’s best interests are protected, even if mom or dad decide that they no longer want to abide by a court-ordered agreement. A family law issue in Michigan recently made national news when a mother was jailed after refusing to comply with a court order.
The 40-year-old mother and her ex-husband share custody of their 9-year-old son, including joint legal custody, which gives them both the opportunity to make decisions regarding his education, religion and — at the heart of this issue — medical care. The boy’s father claims that he wanted to have his son receive up-to-date immunizations, but that the mother always refused to comply. She also filed a religious objection form concerning the immunizations with the child’s public school, which the husband’s attorney claimed was simply self-serving.
The father took the matter to court, where he argued against the religious objection. He claimed that his ex-wife and her new husband both admitted that they did not follow any organized religions and were simply using the form as an excuse to withhold vaccinations. Although the mother argued that her ex-husband was only fighting her on the matter because she was attempting to recover back child support, the court agreed that the boy needed to be immunized, and issued an order.
The court gave the mother seven days to comply or face jail time. Despite this, she returned to court without having her son immunized, and was ordered to spend a week in jail. During that time her ex-husband was given temporary physical custody of the boy, during which time he could have him immunized.
Not all custody matters in Michigan are quite so contentious, and indeed many are relatively peaceful affairs. However, there is no guarantee that any family law matter will be without issues, some of which are incredibly complex. In such instances, it is often best to go before a family law judge, who will issue a final decision on the matter.
Source: krem.com, “Ferndale mom jailed for refusing to vaccinate her son”, John Wisely, Oct. 15, 2017