Religious tensions can arise at any point during a marriage, but the holidays tend to exacerbate any differences that exist between spouses. While two married adults may be able to tolerate – even respect and participate in – one another’s religious traditions, when a couple of differing faiths have a child, determining what religious faith practice in which to raise the child can become a source of tension in the marriage. These tensions do not disappear after a divorce. If anything, they are only magnified.
Beginning January 1, 2016, the concept of “legal custody” of a child – which parent has the authority to make decisions concerning the child’s welfare and upbringing – will be replaced with four areas of parental responsibility. One of these “areas of parental responsibility” concerns religious upbringing and instruction. After January 1, 2016, a court can award one parent or both parents responsibility for making decisions concerning the religious upbringing of the child.
A court is unlikely to award joint decision-making responsibility over any area to parents who have not demonstrated an ability to work together in that area and make decisions that are in the best interest of their child. In lieu of evidence that parents can work together in making religious decisions for their child, a court may consider the following factors in deciding which parent should get to make these decisions following a divorce or separation:
In making this decision, a court could be leery about passing judgment on the merits of either parent’s faith. Instead, the focus is primarily upon which choice will cause the least disruption in the life of the child.
Not being designated as the parent responsible for making religious decisions does not necessarily mean that you do not have a “voice.” You should still endeavor to work with the other parent and make your wishes and concerns known to him or her. However, the other parent will have the authority to make final decisions concerning the religious upbringing of your child.
If you are filing for divorce or seeking custody of your child, you need the talented and dedicated counsel and representation of the Chicago child custody attorneys at Arami Law. We can help ensure the court is fully apprised of all relevant facts and circumstances so it can make an informed and appropriate decision concerning which parent ought to make religious decisions on behalf of your child. Call us or contact us online to discuss your situation today.
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