When the basis of a dispute is religion, one often thinks about regional, country and political issues around the globe. One does not often consider it being a focal point in a child custody dispute. While interfaith families are becoming more commonplace, this does not alleviate the problems that might arise when parents split or divorce.
As such, it is important to understand how religion could develop into a major dispute concerning child custody. Additionally, parents should recognize how the court looks at this issue along with their options to resolve the matter.
Religion and child custody
Religion can be a sensitive subject, but it is also an import topic for parents actively involved in their faith. Whether religion was a major part during the relationship or grew following their split, it can be a significant decision when working through a child custody agreement.
If one parent is active in their religious community, this could present some favor to them. This is especially true when the other parent is not actively involved in their faith. Courts will often consider the child’s moral environment when making custody decisions. Thus, it might be in the best interest of the child to live primarily in a home that actively participates in a religion.
Even if it is established that a child will practice the faith of the parent with primary placement, the non-custodial parent might seek to engage their child in their faith during visitation. This could result in disputes, especially if religion was determined. This could create further problems if the noncustodial parent did this deliberately to go against the other parent and their faith. This could have negative consequences.
Like most child custody disputes, the best interest of the child will help establish the proper resolution. As discussed above, if only one parent is active in their faith, there is a great chance that the child will benefit from being raised in that moral environment. Additionally, if a parent has sole legal custody, they have the decision-making authority to determine the child’s religion.
When parents have joint legal custody and are from different faiths, this could present issues. If they cannot agree to raising their child with both faiths, they may need to resolve the matter through mediation or litigation. A legal professional can help you better understand your rights and what options you have to ensure the best interests of your child are protected.