Family Law
Divorce
Child Support
Child Support Collections
Child Custody
Paternity/Establishment

Does a parent’s religion affect child custody decisions?

a-young-father-with-his-little-daughter-reads-the-bible.jpg

Even though religious freedom is a cherished constitutional right, disputes between parents over religion can put the issue into play when it comes to a custody fight.

What generally happens is that one parent tells the court that the other parent’s religious pursuits are somehow harmful to the children. At that point, the court is obligated to balance the rights of the parent against the children’s interests.

For example, imagine that a Jewish mother and Christian father had agreed to raise the children in the mother’s faith. After their divorce, however, the father returns to the church of his youth — which has a decidedly evangelical nature. The Sunday sermons — to which the father takes the children during his time with them — preach that all nonChristians are doomed to spend eternity tortured in a flaming pit.

The mother, responding to her children’s alarm that they could end up that way, is naturally upset and takes the issue to court. She may simply ask the judge to bar the father from taking their children to services and preaching to them.

That might be sufficient if that stops the children from being exposed to the negative views of the father’s church toward their (and their mother’s) religion and there are no other issues.

What happens, however, if the father joins a religious community with faith-driven dictates over every aspect of its members’ behavior? What if there is no way for the children to spend time with their father without exposure to criticism of nonbelievers?

At that point, the issue becomes much more difficult because there may be no way to permit the father joint custody without causing the children significant emotional conflicts.

It’s important to note that some courts have held that exposing a child to two faiths doesn’t automatically equate to harming that child. Courts want to know specifically how the children are adversely affected by the exposure in some way. They may also consider whether the children were always exposed to both parents’ religions or had previously been raised in one faith.

Because this is a complex issue, it is almost impossible to know how to present your request — or defense — to a court without legal assistance. If you believe religion is likely to be an issue in your child custody case, make certain that you talk to your attorney right away.

Source: thespruce.com, “Religion and Child Custody,” Debrina Washington, accessed March 27, 2018

FindLaw Network

What Our Clients Say

Ms. Marvel has assisted me regarding child support issues for the last 3 years. She is very knowledgeable in child support issues in Texas and also across state lines such as California. She came highly recommended to me by a fellow attorney, the highest compliment she can receive in my opinion. She is professional, responsive and gets the job done. Her staff is very helpful, returns calls and Karen and her staff are responsive to issues that arise. I highly recommend Karen Marvel to anyone seeking a family law attorney in Texas.
Karen Marvel is an excellent family lawyer, who presented at a legal conference I attended. I learned valuable information and tools from her that I now use to help my own clients. After the conference, I’ve called on her a few times when I needed her expertise in child support matters, and she was always willing to help. She is extremely well-respected in our legal community, and I highly recommend her services.
I recently hired Megan to represent me in my divorce. She was very easy to work with, responsive, and efficient. I was extremely impressed with her timeliness and was overall very pleased with her work. I would recommend her if looking for a divorce attorney…
I was very pleased with Megan’s performance in court. She has been a blessing in our lives and single handedly changed our lives for the better . It was a very difficult case on my end and was brilliant with negotiations with OAG. I will always be grateful to Megan and wish the best of luck in future cases…
When I needed a lawyer I asked my coworkers for their recommendations. Three of my coworkers recommended Brandon Wong and they were very satisfied with his services. I contacted Brandon and he handled my divorce in a timely and efficient manner…
I have felt so important to Brandon since the day we first met. I had a million questions and worries, Brandon made me feel informed of all possibilities and confident in him.
Meeting you and having your professional and emotional help during the process of my divorce has definitely been invaluable. In the professional aspect, you are not only a brilliant attorney but you are reasonable, just, and fair. During the process of my divorce I found myself completely…
Brandon represented me in a child custody matter. He is professional, educated, informative and provided his services in an economical manner. He worked to obtain a settlement outside of the courtroom. When the case required a visit to court, his experience guided me through smoothly and ultimately delivered the decision in my favor…
Please don’t hesitate to hire Brandon Wong. He genuinely cares about his clients. He protects his clients, he returns calls and e-mails, which is critical when you are in a situation where you need an attorney…
I would recommend Mr. Wong for his professional services. He was very attentive to my case, returning phone calls and emails before the end of every business day…
Brandon handled my divorce in a first class manner. He was always available to talk when I had questions or needed advice. He was a relentless lawyer and ensured that the settlement was fair and just…
I highly recommend Mr. Wong if you are looking for an honest and hardworking attorney who is more interested in properly representing his clients than making a quick dollar…
We received excellent legal help from Brandon Wong. Our family had a custody issue that had us spinning our wheels for a year due to the complexity. Brandon handled our case quickly and with heart. We felt genuinely cared for during the entire process and will continue to recommend him to anyone who needs legal help…
Brandon handled my divorce and made it easier than I could have imagined. He took care of everything, totally minimized the stress on me, and was extremely professional while remaining very approachable and compassionate…
Hired Mr. Wong to represent me on a child-support arrears enforcement case. Dad was ordered to pay child-support in 1991, and up until my daughter turned 18 years of age…

Read All Client
Testimonials