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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Religious Issues


Term Definition Religious Issues - a area of dispute that can become more pronounced after a divorce.
Application in Divorce When mixed marriages falter, very often the former spouses dispute the religious upbringing of children after the divorce. In general, postdivorce disputes fall in three areas: 1) the custodial parent wishes to limit the noncustodial parent’s inculcation of a religious values; 2) the noncustodial parent objects to the religiosity of the custodial parent; and 3) the noncustodial parent objects to an excess of religiosity, zeal and fervor.

Many if not most Americans have religious beliefs and these disputes can become so intense that on the basis of them, parents have asked for a change in custody. On occasion, courts have ordered changes in custody when religious fervor on the part of the custodial parent has been shown to be harmful to the child.

In general, courts have ruled that while the custodial parent determines a child’s day-to-day religious training, both the noncustodial and custodial parent have a right to expose a child to their religious beliefs unless doing so is in some way harmful to the child. Mere stress and even confusion are generally not seen as meeting that standard.

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