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Disputes About a Child’s Religious Upbringing in DuPage County

 Posted on December 06, 2022 in Child Custody

DuPage County family lawyer

Divorced parents who observe different religions and share parenting time are usually permitted to raise their children in their preferred faith simultaneously. Infringing upon a parent's religious freedom is illegal. Still, disputes can arise, especially if one parent is more devout than the other or if the parents have different religious beliefs. If a conflict between the two parents occurs, there can be mitigating factors court use to align with one parent's wishes.  

Raising a child with religion can entail a myriad of conventions, such as dietary restrictions, weekly sabbath observance, holiday traditions, and religious education. A family law attorney who understands the sensitive nature of religion can negotiate and create an appropriate parenting plan that stipulates the tenets of the child's religious upbringing. Additionally, a family law attorney can enforce the parenting plan or draft a modification to the parenting plan. 

Illinois Law Regarding Child Custody Religious Disputes

Under Illinois law, a child's religious upbringing is contingent on what is established in the parenting plan. If the divorcing spouses cannot create an agreement about their child's religious upbringing, the court may award decisions about religiosity to whoever has majority parenting time and decision-making responsibility. Some factors that the court will consider include but are not limited to the following.

  1. Did both parents and children practice a religion before the divorce?

  2. Did both parents observe the same religion?

  3. Is each parent committed to supporting and encouraging a nurturing relationship between the child and the other parent?

  4. Is the child mature enough to formulate their own religious preference?

  5. Is the child's school parochial or affiliated with a religion?

Tips to Rectify Religious Disputes

Interfaith marriages have become increasingly more common due in part to a growing number of religiously unaffiliated Americans marrying someone of a different faith. According to a Pew Research Center survey, as of 2010, nearly 39 percent of married Americans were in religious intermarriages. In comparison, only 19 percent of married couples were interfaith in 1960. The following tips could help divorced interfaith parents co-parent harmoniously:   

  1. Refrain from speaking disparagingly about the other parent’s religion

  2. Try to find the common characteristics between your religion and your ex-spouse’s religion, as most religions teach similar values of love and compassion

  3. Prepare and plan for parenting time during religious holidays that you observe  

  4. Concede parenting time during religious holidays that your ex-spouse would like to celebrate with your child

  5. Try to respect and understand your ex-spouse’s religion

  6. Recognize that some religious rituals, such as bris, baptism, bar mitzvah, or First Holy Communion, may be non-negotiable. If you fervently oppose your child participating in such rituals, a modification to the parenting plan may be necessary

  7. Ultimately, once your children turn 18, they can decide what religion they want to practice. Depending on the child’s age at the time of the divorce, it may be appropriate to consider their opinions on the subject

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney 

At Pesce Law Group P.C., a full-service family law firm, our determined child custody attorneys are dedicated to the needs of our clients and aggressively advocate for amicable solutions. We work to create fair and reasonable parenting plans and have the expertise to enforce them in court if necessary. Pesce Law Group P.C. offers convenient payment plans and both weekday and weekend appointments. If your child’s religious upbringing is causing conflict with your ex-spouse, contact a Naperville divorce attorney at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.


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