Who Gets to Choose My Child’s Religion After Divorce?

The way that people approach and commit to relationships has changed drastically over the past few decades.  For example, while it used to be taboo to have a child out of wedlock, it is no longer uncommon for people to live together and have children without ever getting married.  Similarly, it is no longer uncommon for people to have an interfaith marriage.  Our culture is becoming more and more multi-national and multi-cultural, so it is natural for people to form attachments and marry people outside of their faith and culture.  Unfortunately, these marriages are in no way immune to the disintegration of a relationship, and just like those marriages between two people of the same religion, divorce may be the result.  If the parties share children, they may be left wondering who gets to choose the children’s religion after the divorce is over.

In a divorce, a court will make a determination as to how the child’s time will be divided.  The court will also make a decision as to who will have legal custody of the child.  Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make the major decisions for the child.  Religion is considered to be a major decision.  In the vast majority of cases, the parents will be named joint legal custodians.  This means that they both need to cooperate in making major decisions.  In cases of religion, this means that both parents can teach the children their own religious tenets during their respective parenting time and may take the children to their preferred places of worship.  Neither parent can interfere with the other’s decision to teach a particular religion.= during his or her parenting time.

In some cases, one parent may be named the sole legal custodian of the children.  If this is the situation, then that parent has the sole decision making authority with respect to the children’s religion.  That parent will have veto power over the other parent’s wishes with respect to religion.  For example, if the father is named the sole legal custodian, he can tell the mother that she may not teach the children her chosen religion, even during her parenting time with the children.

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We have extensive experience helping our clients understand their rights and responsibilities concerning their children and major decisions.  Contact us today for a consultation to talk about your children.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us atinfo@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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