One of the most contentious issues interfaith couples face upon divorce is the religious upbringing of their children.
New Jersey case law illustrates a consistent tendency toward allowing the primary caretaker to determine the religious upbringing of the child while permitting the non-custodial parent to take the child to religious services of their choosing during his or her parenting time. New Jersey courts have placed substantial emphasis on not putting children in situations that require them to choose between their parents’ religions. They have therefore determined that it is generally in the best interests of the child to grant the primary caretaker the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s religious upbringing.
This stance is often in conflict with parents’ property settlement agreements (PSA’S). PSA’s usually outline the couple’s mutual agreements regarding – among other issues – child custody. Divorcing couples that agree to joint legal custody may stipulate that they will both make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Religion is considered a major decision. Very often to avoid conflict parents will include the child’s religion in their PSA.
Agreements that are oral, vague, or not current will most likely not be enforced because the court cannot determine the original terms of the agreement. Parties usually have different versions of the terms of oral agreements and without written substantiation, the court cannot validate either side’s assertions. Agreements that were made prior to marriage and without consideration for potential divorce are often dated and vague; courts are hesitant to bind parents to such indefinable and possibly obsolete terms.
New Jersey Religious Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Religious Couples Navigate Divorce Issues
If you are the parent of a child born in an interfaith marriage and you are struggling with coming to an agreement on the child’s religious upbringing upon divorce, contact a New Jersey religious divorce lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We help clients in all complex divorce matters and will provide you with the attention you deserve. With consideration for both your parental rights and the best interests of your child, our attentive and diligent lawyers can help you overcome legal challenges and achieve your goals. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to discuss your case today. We represent clients throughout New Jersey including in Somerville, Somerset, Mendham, and Woodbridge.