co-parenting when religion is a factor

Feb 20, 2013 | Co-Parenting


On behalf of Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C. posted in Co-Parenting on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

Co-parenting when religion is a factor is always a delicate issue. Whether you and your ex both practice two different religions, or whether only one of you is religious at all, deciding how to raise your child together can be a controversial matter. In situations where religion is involved, respecting your ex’s wishes regarding how to raise your child is a necessary component to your co-parenting agreement. While the issue of religion may not be important to you or your ex during the younger stages of your child’s life, as the child grows older religion may begin to become more and more important to you and your child. The following describe a few recommendations for those whose co-parenting situation involves a difference of religion.

Consider mediation. As you develop your co-parenting agreement with your divorce attorney, using a mediator’s services will be to your greatest advantage. The issue of religion is one of a sensitive nature, and to many religious people it must absolutely be addressed. In the event of two devoutly religious parents who may practice different religions, coming to a reasonable compromise regarding how to raise their child may be a difficult task. An experienced mediator will be a valuable resource to those who find themselves in similar situations.

Make provisions in the co-parenting agreement. As you and your ex construct a co-parenting agreement with your divorce attorneys, it may be wise to include a provision regarding how the child is to be raised in terms of religion and religious practices. Parenting practices such as bringing the child to Catholic mass every other Sunday while your spouse brings your child to a Jewish temple every other weekend for prayer can be a point of contention. Additionally, there may be the added presence of your ex’s new significant other and whatever religion he/she may bring to the table. For some parents, this religious diversity may be completely acceptable. Others may not feel comfortable with this. After you have gone through mediation, it may be in your best interest to include in writing a provision regarding how religious practices will be handled in relationship to your child.

Give some independence to the child. While you may feel it best to raise your child in a sheltered environment, free of influence from any other religion, consider the unique position your child is in. Forcing your child to choose sides regarding religion will do more harm than good, and does not offer your child a chance to explore his/her options regarding a spiritual life. Also, consider the position of your ex. Imagine how you would feel if your ex were to force any religious opinions or practices on your child. While your religion may be of utmost importance to you, and you may desire to share this with your child, keep in mind that he/she may experience a great deal of confusion if both parents do not allow him/her to make educated decisions regarding which religion to practice, if any.

Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be a challenging situation for anyone, religious or not. For more information on your options regarding devising a successful co-parenting plan, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.