After a divorce, issues often arise surrounding the child and parents’ religion and their right to bring their child to their chosen house of worship. It is important to know what religious rights you have with your child and to respect the other’s rights as well.
Taking Your Child to Your House of Worship
Generally, the First Amendment protects a child’s right to choose and exercise his or her own faith. However, when a child is too young to choose for him- or her-self, that decision is given to the parent who has legal custody of the child. That parent will than have control of the child’s upbringing, which includes religious activities.
Decision-making regarding a child’s religion will depend if you have sole legal custody of the child. If you have sole legal custody, then it will be up to you to exercise your judgment on how best to raise the child in terms of their religious upbringing.
However, when there is joint legal custody over the child, both parents share the right to make decisions over the child’s best interest, including the child’s spiritual welfare. This means that whoever has physical custody of the child may bring the child to church, temple or mosque unless the parents have disagreed over the child’s religious upbringing. In these cases, consent may be required.
When Agreement Among Both Parents is Required (Family Code 3083)
Family Code 3083 states that when there is joint legal custody, the court shall specify the circumstances where joint mutual consent is required. Where both parents have disagreed over their child’s religious upbringing, the court will determine the child’s best interest regarding religion. Typically, courts will issue an order that alternates custody over the holidays. Whatever the agreement is among the parents, it is important that you follow the parameters of the agreement so that you don’t jeopardize your custody rights.
If there is no formal agreement regarding religious issues, the court may look to how the parents have dealt with religious upbringing in the past. This can often be an issue when parents have been raised in different religious faiths. Thus, it is important to have your attorney draft a custody agreement that deals with these issues ahead of time.
Call Wallin & Klarich if You Need Help with All Types of Child Custody Orders
The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are experienced and skillful in helping clients either negotiate the many issues than can arise with legal custody issues or obtain court orders that are relevant to your needs. Our skilled divorce attorneys have been successfully handling divorce and child custody issues for over 30 years. We can help you with your case today.
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