Divorced or separated parents often disagree about how to raise their children. In most cases it is just about preferences, for food, clothing, discipline, schooling. But when it comes to medical decisions, those disagreements can have serious consequences. After a recent decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Kagen v. Kagen, it seems likely that Michigan courts will usually consider vaccinations to be in a child's best interests.
In that case, the court decided that the evidence presented by the father, who was in favor of vaccinating the couple's child, was admissible and outweighed the evidence provided by the mother, who opposed vaccination. I think this best sums up the court's decision: "A review of the parties’ evidence clearly supports that vaccination of children is in their best interests, unless the child’s medical condition contraindicates vaccination. The reports generated after public-agency research and investigation, including those presented by Mrs. Kagen, establish that the benefits associated with vaccination far outweigh any dangers."
In Michigan family law, what the court sees as a child's best interest can have serious consequences. In divorces, custody disputes, parenting time arrangements, change of residence, adoptions, and paternity determinations, a child's best interests, according to the court, will often decide the outcome of the case. And for each type of case mentioned, the way courts decide on the best interest vary.
In situations where a parent does not trust in alternative forms of medicine used by the other parent, they should be able to use this case to try to get the court to order the use of mainstream medicine. Divorced or separated parents who want to use homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, or anthroposiphic medicine for their child should be aware that this could possibly be used against them in a future custody dispute.
Whichever side you're on when it comes to these forms of medicine, it is important that you understand your rights and how they could apply to the best interests of your child. Even if you don't foresee a court case soon, talking with an attorney now can ease your mind, and help smooth out any future disputes.