Divorce and Child’s Religion

divorce and child's religion

Divorce and child's religion can be a major issue in a marriage dissolution case. Long gone are the days in which people married within their own faiths as a matter of routine. Since the 1970s, people have ever increasingly been marrying others who belong to a religion that is not their own.

In some cases, one spouse or another converts. On the other hand, the practice of both spouses maintaining their own faith practices has become more commonplace all the time. This structure presents an issue when a married couple has children. It can be quite complicated if it becomes an issue in divorce proceedings. Resolving the divorce and a child's religion issue necessitates the consideration of a variety of different factors.

Religion is a Major Life Decision

Family law considers a child's religion and religious practices to be a major life decision. The parent or parents who maintain legal custody are responsible for making decision related to this matter on behalf of a minor child.

The Child's Religious Traditions and Practices Before Divorce

One of the most important factors considered by a court when called upon to address divorce and a child's religion is history. A court will examine how the matter of a child's religion was addressed by the spouses prior to the commencement of a divorce case.

There are three general avenues pursued by parents of different faiths when it comes to children born during a marriage. First, the child participates in the religion of one parent. Second, the child takes part in the faith experiences of both parents. Finally, the child has no notable religious connection.

In the vast majority of instances, a younger child will remain involved in the religious practices that he or she has experienced to date. An older child is likely to be able to be involved in determining what will occur in the way of his or her religious practices and preferences following a divorce.

Is the Religion of a Child a Bona Fide Issue?

Divorce and a child's religion is not always raised as a bona fide issue in a divorce case. One parent may make an issue out of religion in order to attempt to gain some sort of perceived advantaged in the divorce proceedings. Typically, a court need only look at the religious history of the parties and the minor child to ascertain if a real issue about religion is raised in a case.

Courts encourage parents initially attempt to reach a settlement between them about issues relating to religion. Judges typically feel it is in the best interests of both parties, and children, that matters pertaining to religion are addressed through negotiations whenever possible rather than litigated in court.