One of the most sensitive and hard to talk about areas in a Rockford resident’s life is religion or, for that matter, lack thereof. When it comes to the ultimate questions, people have very strong views, and parents typically raise their children to espouse their own views on such matters.
When parents are living in separate households, it is therefore no wonder that child custody and parenting time questions involving religion need to be handled with particular sensitivity. While choice of religion is, generally speaking, handled as part of the court’s allocation of decision-making authority, Illinois law imposes some special rules on courts that need to decide religious questions between parents, but that also involve the child.
There is a strong presumption that parents should agree with respect to such questions, so the courts will first look for any sort of agreement, even an implied one, existing between the two parents. Failing that, the court will look at how the parties have handled religion in the past
If, for example, the parents never took the child to a house of worship over the years, the court is not likely to require a parent to start taking the child if he or she objects. In the absence of any agreement or established pattern of religious practice, the court will not issue orders regarding which parent will decide what about religion. Parents will simply need to work out such matters among themselves.
Given the sensitive nature of these matters, parents in Illinois who suspects religion could be an issue when allocating parental responsibilities may want to get more information about their family law options.