TODAY: Divorced parents are going to court over COVID-19 vaccines for their children

November 23, 2021

Following her interview for The Washington Post, Doylestown-based family law partner Hillary Moonay was interviewed by TODAY in connection with the recent surge in vaccine disputes between ex-spouses. The article “Divorced parents are going to court over COVID-19 vaccines for their children” by Danielle Campoamor, published on November 19, 2021, focuses on the most recent source of co-parenting contention – the COVID-19 vaccine for children.

More and more co-parents are going to court over COVID-19 vaccines for children.

“There has been a significant increase” in court cases, lawyer Hillary Moonay, a partner at Obermayer law firm’s family law department, tells TODAY. “Now… disputes are creeping into flu vaccine concerns as well. I believe this is primarily because parents who do not want their child to get the COVID-19 vaccine believe it helps their position if they now claim they do not want their child to get the flu vaccine either.”

Hillary shared that the calls about COVID-related family disputes had significantly increased. “For comparison, prior to the pandemic, custody-related vaccine issues were rare,” she says. “I probably had a total of two or three over the course of my 25-year career before now.

Hillary explained that  “most commonly, judges are not deciding whether a child should receive the vaccine but, instead, awarding one parent sole legal custody to make that decision. Judges are primarily relying upon the recommendations of the children’s pediatrician or family doctor to reach a decision. Additionally, judges are considering whether a child has had other childhood vaccines without the objection of either parent.”

Hillary focuses her practice exclusively in the area of family law, where she handles all phases of the negotiation and litigation of domestic relations cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony/spousal support, equitable distribution, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, mediation, arbitration, and related issues. Hillary contributed to the book, Slicing Up the Pie: Property Distribution in Pennsylvania, published by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Press. She has been featured as a case note contributor for the Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, has authored articles for The Legal Intelligencer, including The Impact of Social Media on Family Law Matters and Post-Retirement Benefits in Matrimonial Litigation, and frequently lectures on a variety of family law topics.