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Co-Parenting When One Ex-Spouse Is More Religious Than the Other


Religion is an important part of many families’ daily lives, but the family court is loath to interfere with people’s religious practices.  Plenty of happily married people adhere to religious practices other than those of their spouse.  In some families, Mom says her prayers every night while Dad scrolls through news headlines, and Mom takes the kids to church on Sunday morning while Dad stays home.  In other families, Dad fasts during Ramadan while Mom joins the children for lunch at Chick-fil-A.  There are even families where the children celebrate Christmas with one set of grandparents and Hanukkah with the other.  Even among couples who married within their own faith community, the spouses’ religious beliefs sometimes diverge during the marriage.  After a divorce, you do not have much control over how your ex-spouse’s religious views may change, and neither does the court.  Your ex-spouse may undergo a religious conversion and remarry within his or her new faith community.  For help navigating co-parenting issues related to religious practices, contact a Boca Raton child custody lawyer.

If Your Ex-Spouse Is More Religious Than You, Such Is the Way of the Universe

A divorced couple went back to court because of a disagreement over a faith-based after school program.  Both former spouses were Jewish, and during the marriage, their children had been exposed to many aspects of the Jewish faith, including, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform.  After the divorce, the mother followed Orthodox Jewish laws in her home, but the father did not.  The mother enrolled the children in an Orthodox Jewish after school care program.  The father did not mind, except that the school closed early on Fridays.  The father’s parenting time began at 6:00 on Fridays, and his work schedule did not enable him to pick up the children earlier than this.

The court ordered the mother to pick up the children from after school care at 4:30 on Fridays, when the afterschool program ended, so that the father could pick them up from the mother’s house at 6:00.  Regarding the father’s other complaints about the children getting mixed messages about religious observance, the court said, “That’s life.”  It is none of the court’s business if Mom’s kitchen has one set of dishes for meat and another for dairy products, while Dad’s kitchen turns out Philly cheese steaks and the occasional shrimp.

The parenting plan contains a question about which parent has the final decision about decisions related to the children’s education, extracurricular activities, and non-emergency medical care.  Sharing the decision-making responsibility is also an option.  No matter how you answer this question on your parenting plan, expect a bumpy ride.  Coordinating your parenting values with someone else is one of life’s greatest challenges.

Contact Schwartz | White About the Non-Financial Parts of Co-Parenting

A South Florida family law attorney can help you resolve co-parenting disputes about your children’s religious upbringing, even when the court’s answer is, “That is between you and your ex.”.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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