Complementary religious beliefs and commitment to faith bring many people together. And as religious organizations and parishioners alike are becoming more accepting of intermarriage, more people than ever before are marrying outside of their own faith. As a result, religious concerns can play a major role in divorce proceedings. Understanding whether and how religion can factor into child custody arrangements can be helpful to those considering their divorce options.
The New York Times discusses some of the legal issues that can arise over religious concerns in divorce proceedings, and explains that child custody disputes revolving around religious conflicts are playing out in family law courts in increasing numbers. The rise in these types of family law disputes is attributed to several factors, including the fact that intermarriage is more common and more fathers are being granted primary custody of their children. Beyond that, post-divorce conflicts occur in some cases when one parent chooses to convert to another faith.
While family law courts are prepared to account for the best interests of a child and make child custody rulings, they are typically less inclined to base such decisions on factors revolving around religion. Therefore, Parents are often encouraged to participate in divorce mediation and other programs in order to develop custody and visitation plans that meet the unique needs of their families.
According to the Huffington Post, there are steps that parents can take in order to promote conflict resolution and accommodate each other’s religious beliefs when it comes to their child’s care and upbringing. In regards to observing religious holidays, parents can negotiate visitation arrangements to allow for quality visitation time. Parents are also encouraged to discuss the religious observances that will be enforced in each household, and reach compromises whenever possible.