When You Have a Vaccine Dispute With Your Kids’ Other Parent

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Thursday February 10th, 2022.

Doctors encourage parents of children aged 5 to 11 to get their children vaccinated against COVID. Both parents must sign off if you’re divorced and share custody. However, a poll shows that roughly a quarter of U.S. parents do not want their kids vaccinated. How should parents navigate the issue if one is for the vaccine and one is against it? 

Look at Your Papers

Your first step should be to review your custodial order and final divorce decree. The two of you may have already laid the groundwork for these types of decisions. 

In addition, if one parent was given sole legal custody, that parent has the ability to make the final decision on the vaccine question.

Seek Legal Advice

Should you and the other parent have joint legal custody, the decision will need to be made together. If a consensus feels impossible, seeking the assistance of a family law attorney may be the best solution. You can request mediation, or you can ask the court for help coming to a resolution. 

Going to Court

If you go before a judge, there are a few things that you will need to do to prepare for your case. 

  • Present evidence: You and the other parent will both have the chance to support your position on the vaccine with evidence. Your opinion is not considered evidence. You will need documentation from your child’s medical provider or testimony from medical experts. 
  • History of involvement: Before considering your stance on the vaccine, the court will take a look at your level of involvement in your child’s medical care. If one parent makes the majority of medical decisions for the child, the court is likely to weigh that parent’s wishes more heavily. 
  • Religion: Religious reasons for objecting to the vaccine will be considered by the court, but it is unlikely that this will be the sole factor in the court’s decision. 
  • Your child’s testimony: Older children, fourteen years old and above, will likely be asked for their own opinion regarding vaccination. The court may consider an older child’s wishes when making a decision. 

Steps to Take After a Spouse’s Death

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Thursday February 10th, 2022.

A period of unspeakable sadness follows the death of a spouse, but unfortunately, many legal and financial requirements cannot be postponed.

Taking on a to-do list while grieving is probably the last thing on your mind, so enlisting the assistance and counsel of a trustworthy family member, friend, or attorney to help you sort things out and provide emotional support is a smart option.

You may also want to seek the assistance of your financial, legal, and tax professionals. They can often assist you with many of the responsibilities, allowing you to concentrate on your loss. 

Here are five things that will need to be done shortly after the death of a spouse:

Request Certified Copies of the Death Certificate

Certified copies of your spouse’s death certificate will be required to claim benefits or transfer accounts into your name. Request at least a dozen or more copies from the funeral home. To prove you were married to the deceased, you may also be required to provide verified marriage certificates.

Gather Financial Records

Begin gathering financial documents, such as bank records, bills, credit card statements, tax returns, insurance policies, and any outstanding mortgages or loans, as well as retirement accounts. It could take time if your spouse doesn’t have a well-organized filing system. Remember, you may need to contact the corporations directly and give documentation of your spouse’s death in order to access their accounts.

Change Titles on Accounts

Accounts only in your spouse’s name should be closed, and the account holder’s information should be changed on all joint bank, investment, and credit accounts. You can request the necessary forms from your financial institutions.

Revise Beneficiary Designations

If you inherit a retirement account, such as an IRA, you can choose to roll it over to an IRA in your own name. You will want to speak with an attorney and a tax specialist to determine the best method for receiving your deceased spouse’s retirement account. You should also update beneficiary designations on such accounts.

Discuss Next Steps

A financial advisor can assist you in updating your financial strategy in light of the new situation. You can also talk about short-term adjustments, such as a budget, as well as long-term changes, such as your retirement plan and investment possibilities.