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Religious Considerations Involved in Child Custody

When two parents get divorced, there are a number of decisions that must be made regarding how to raise their children. For couples in which the two parties are of different faiths, it might not be easy to decide which religion to which your children will adhere. Choosing a religion for your children can sometimes be a complicated issue, as there are many considerations in play.

Religious freedom and children’s best interests

When interfaith couples divorce and disagree on the religious activities of their kids, the court may step in to hear from both parents about their concerns. Court officials must factor in the parents’ religious freedoms to both practice and raise a family within their belief systems. However, the parents’ rights are not the only factors that come into play.

A major concern for the court will be the best interests of the children. If a parent’s religious beliefs may endanger or harm the kids in any way, the court may decide that the parent is not permitted to raise the children within that belief system. As there is no federal law governing this issue, it is up to Minnesota state law to decipher which religious practices are safe or hazardous to minors. In some cases, religious beliefs that may be deemed dangerous for children may affect custody or parent visitation rights.

The impact of child custody

If parents share custody of their kids, judges typically permit teachings from both religions to be followed. Usually, in cases in which one parent is granted sole legal custody, the legal custodian is granted the authority to decide on the children’s religious activities. If a dispute arises, the noncustodial parent may bring the issue to court. However, the wishes of the custodial parent are typically paramount unless they endanger the well-being of the kids in question.

To learn more about resolving child custody disputes within your family, consult a skilled Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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