Understanding the Change to the Vaccination Law in Washington State
When going through divorce with children, it’s important to keep in mind that the issue of whether to vaccinate your child is typically considered a joint health care decision under most temporary parenting plans. This means that unless you have court-ordered sole decision making, you and your spouse will need to be on the same page about whether to vaccinate your child. In the past, if either of you did not want to vaccinate your child for the measles, the right to a philosophical or personal exemption to vaccination was available under the law.
As of July 28, 2019, there’s a new law in Washington that prevents parents from being able to claim a personal or philosophical exemption to avoid giving their children the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (the “MMR” vaccination).It applies to public and private schools and licensed child care facilities. The law is in response to the recent measles outbreak in Washington state.
The law only applies to the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Parents can continue to opt their kids out of other required school vaccinations with a personal or philosophical exemption. Religious and medical exemptions are also still allowed for all vaccinations.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement about vaccinating your child, it’s a good idea to talk to a family law attorney sooner rather than later to understand what your options are.
Desirée L. Good is a Seattle area family law attorney. Desirée’s practice includes advising people about divorce, parenting plans and child support. DuBois Cary Law Group, PLLC is a full-service woman-owned family law firm providing compassionate legal representation for Northwest Families with over 30 years of combined experience. Call us today at (206) 547-1486.