Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Religion may be addressed in a child custody plan

Oftentimes, when two people of differing faiths join together in marriage, they discuss how they will either retain their separate religions or find ways to unify themselves under one particular religious system. It is not uncommon for married people to be divided not only into separate religious practices, but for some faithful individuals to marry people who have no religious beliefs at all. These relationships can and do work but often become complicated when the married parties have children.

The introduction of children into a multi-faith household can cause conflict when the parents cannot or do not agree on how the children will be exposed to religion. In fact, when individuals divorce, religion can be a major point of conflict between them when it comes to establishing how they will co-parent their kids. Especially if the parents share legal custody of their kids it may be hard to find common ground on how their children will, or will not, be brought up in a religion.

Because this topic can be very sensitive it is important that it be addressed carefully and clearly in custodial negotiations. Parents can address matters of religion in the child custody agreements they draft so that there are very clear expectations for how their kids will be exposed to the religious practices of the parents. Terms regarding religion in custody agreements must be followed and, like other provisions in such documents, these provisions can be violated and subject to penalties if the parents fail to follow them.

Creating a sound parenting plan or custody agreement can be difficult. When matters of religion become fights between the parents it can be useful for them to discuss their needs and concerns with legal professionals who can guide them through ways of achieving agreement and resolution regarding their differences.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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