It is in the best interests of a three-year-old daughter for the father and anyone regularly supervising his access to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or else undergo regular testing. So held New York County Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper in his October 7, 2021 opinion in C.B. v. D.B, directing that the father’s in-person parental access with the child be suspended until such time as he did so.
The Court noted that historically vaccines almost universally embraced as a means of protecting ourselves and our children from deadly or debilitating disease. With Covid-19, most people, heeding expert medical opinion, have availed themselves of vaccines that promise not only to protect them and others from the ravages of the disease, but ultimately to completely vanquish the virus. Unfortunately, for Justice Cooper, a sizeable minority, incomprehensibly seizing upon misinformation, conspiracy theories, and muddled notions of “individual liberty,” have refused all entreaties to be vaccinated.
In this divorce action, the issue was not one of whether the child should be vaccinated; she is still too young to receive any of the vaccines. Nor was it one of whether the Court could require an adult to be vaccinated; to do so would stretch the authority of a matrimonial court to unprecedented lengths.
Here, the parties were married in 2015, and their child, a daughter, was born in 2018. The parties’ high-conflict divorce action was commenced by the wife in 2019. Based upon the wife’s allegations of the husband’s history of substance abuse and untreated mental health issues, and significant periods where he had not seen the child at all, Justice Cooper directed that the husband have daytime access every other weekend visitation, but supervised, first only by Comprehensive Family Services (CFS), but later by his parents.
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