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Disputes over 'best interests of the child' can wind up in court

Divorcing or divorced parents are likely quite familiar with the phrase "best interests of the child." This is the standard that courts, mediators and parents are supposed to use when making decisions about issues like custody and parenting plans.

As much as we might hear and think about "best interests of the child," it can still be very difficult to define, especially when parents do not agree on what it looks like. As an example, we can look at a case in another state involving a mother and father battling over vaccinating their son.

The debate: must they vaccinate?

A report on the case explains that the mother is against vaccinating her son, while the father wants the vaccinations. The mother argues the alleged risks of the vaccinations outweigh the benefits while the father sides with public health professionals' statements that vaccines are safe and effective.

A judge previously required the mother to have her son vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of a pediatrician. When the mother refused, she was sent to jail for five days for not complying with court orders. She is now trying to prevent future vaccinations by arguing her case in court.

Why this dispute matters for North Carolina parents

While this debate is occurring in another state, fights over what’s best for children are not limited by geography. Parents in every jurisdiction can be at odds over everything from the medical services their children receive to how much discipline a child needs.

When both parents have legal custody of a child, they both have the right to weigh in on these types of decisions. If the opinions do not align, then a contentious dispute can erupt.

If you and the other parent of your child do not agree about what is or is not in the best interests of your child, it is crucial that you work with an attorney to argue your case and protect your rights. Whether you can ultimately come to a resolution outside of court or the decision is left to a judge, you want to be sure you fight for what you believe is best for your child.

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