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Preparing a Holiday Parenting Plan, Part One: Religious Considerations

 Posted on December 06, 2016 in Child Custody

Naperville Child Custody LawyerDecember is a month full of religious holidays and cultural celebrations. Of course, you can hardly go anywhere after Thanksgiving without seeing decorations traditionally associated with Christmas, regardless of one’s religious affiliation, as Christmas has become as much a secular tradition as a religious one. (The debate about this is a topic for another time and place). This year, December 25 also marks the beginning of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which lasts until the first of the new year. Along with these well-known traditions, many in the United States also celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi—a tradition honored by certain groups of Muslims—and Kwanzaa, which honors the heritage of African-Americans.

The choice to celebrate and honor certain holidays is a very personal one, and one that should be made freely by each individual. The issue becomes more complex, however, when divorced, separated, or unmarried parents must make such decisions for their child. If you are a parent in such a situation, it is time to start making holiday parenting decisions.

Religious Training

As a divorced or unmarried parent, you may already have made arrangements regarding the type of religious training your child will receive. If you and the other parent share the same religious affiliation, such an arrangement was probably very easy. If your religious views differ significantly, however, deciding on your child’s religious upbringing can be much more challenging.

Religious training is one of the considerations that falls under significant decision-making according to Illinois law. This means that when your parenting plan was created, one or both of you were given the authority to make decisions about the practice of faith and worship for your child. If you are both responsible for such choices, you will need to discuss the matter in depth with the other parent to determine whether your child will be brought up in a particular faith.

Religious Holidays

Of course, religious upbringing goes much deeper than annual feasts and celebrations, but the winter holiday season offers the opportunity for your child to enjoy a variety of experiences. If, for example, you are a devout Roman Catholic, you and the other parent may decide that your child should attend midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with you, even if your child is not being raised in the same faith. You could also decide that your child should participate in Hanukkah festivities with the other parent’s family. The winter holidays should be about inclusion and family, and you have the opportunity this year to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance for your child.

In an upcoming post, we will talk more about the parenting time concerns that affect many parents during the winter holidays. Meanwhile, if you have questions about decision-making authority for your child, contact an experienced family law attorney in Naperville. Call Pesce Law Group at 630-352-2240 for a no-cost consultation today.


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