Religion and Your Child Custody Arrangement
It’s somewhat common for one parent to change religions after going through a divorce. However, there are legal implications involving child custody and changing religion that must be considered. Religion is actually one of several considerations that courts will take into account when determining custody arrangements, alongside health care, residence, recreation and education.
First, courts will determine the “status quo religion” of the child, which means the religion that parents chose for the child while they were still married and still making joint decisions regarding how to raise the child. Neither parent is allowed to change the child’s religion from the status quo without agreement from the other parent or permission from the court.
If there was no religion chosen for the child during marriage, then the status quo religion is simply “no specific religion.” In this case, neither parent is allowed to make any decision regarding enrollment in a religious denomination without the consent of the other parent.
Parents that change their religion after a divorce are allowed to speak with their children about their change in religion and talk to them about their new beliefs, but they are prohibited from making a formal change in their child’s denomination. Each parent is expected to respect the religious affiliation of the other and to not speak badly about one parent or their religion in an attempt to influence their children’s opinions.
For more information on how religious choice may affect child custody matters, speak with a skilled family law attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith and Tartaglia, LLP.