Courts will look at a number of different factors when determining child custody arrangements, including education, health care, extracurricular activities, residence and religion. Religion has some particularly unique guidelines that courts need to follow and enforce both during and after the divorce.
It’s not uncommon for one parent to want to change their religion after a divorce, which is fine. But there are rules in place that prohibit them from forcing a denomination change on their children.
When judges examine issues of religion in a divorce, they’ll first determine what the “status quo religion” is for the children. This is the religion that the parents chose for the children when they were still married and making decisions together. Neither parent is allowed to make a change from that status quo religion without either the consent of the other parent or the permission of the courts.
If the parents did not choose a religion for the child, then the status quo religion is just “no religion.” The same rules apply; neither parent is allowed to enroll their children in a religious denomination without the approval of the other or the permission of the courts.
If a parent does decide to change religion after a divorce, he or she does have the right to tell their child about the change and explain their new religion to them. However, they are not allowed to force their children to undergo the same religious conversion or to talk bad about the other parent’s religion in hopes of influencing the children’s views.
For more information and guidance on how courts address religion in child custody arrangements, consult the experienced Minnesota divorce and family law attorneys at Appelhoff, Pfeiffer & Hart, P.A.
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