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Joint child custody and decision making

Sometimes, when sharing custody of children with an ex-spouse, there are some issues on which both parents may not agree. It happens. Some arguments can be avoided, though, by making sure that the child custody agreement is very detailed. For example, Georgia parents who have certain wishes for medical treatments may include those in the plan in an effort to prevent problems down the line.

Recently, in another state, a woman who shares custody of her 9-year-old son with her ex-husband found herself facing jail time for refusing to have the child vaccinated. She has strong religious beliefs that do not allow for such medical treatments. She says that, at some point, her former spouse agreed to her wishes, but they were never put in writing.

The child's father now wants his son to receive all of his vaccinations. He has joint custody of the child and is well within his rights to request this. The mother refused, and so the case was taken to court. A judge ultimately sided with the father and ordered the mother to have the child vaccinated within a certain time frame or she would be put in jail.

The purpose of sharing this particular story is not to push the vaccination debate. The purpose is to show that parents have different ideas for what is best for their children. When facing a joint child custody situation, parents may not always be on the same page about certain things. Those in Georgia who have specific concerns that will affect their custody arrangements can address those before their custody orders are finalized.

Source:, "Mom Would Rather Go to Jail Than Vaccinate Son", Claudya Martinez, Oct. 3, 2017

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