When a married couple decides to divorce, there are typically many problems in the relationship – but general incompatibility can become exceedingly stressful and emotional when differing religious beliefs are involved. The situation becomes even more complex when the couple shares children. After a divorce, many former spouses with different beliefs argue over who gets to determine the religious upbringing of their child – and these discussions can become heated.
While the United States Constitution guarantees parents the right to determine the religious education of their children, this simple statement becomes contentious when one spouse starts badmouthing the religious beliefs of their ex-partner in front of their child. If your former spouse has been trash-talking your beliefs in front of your children, there may be legal action you can take.
Possible Courses of Action When Choosing Your Child's Religion
Before pursuing legal action, it might be helpful to consider a few likely outcomes in court. After a divorce, the court will first consider the wishes of the child (or children) regarding religion. If the child is old enough, the court will most likely respect their decision to practice the religion of their choosing, as long as that religion does not cause any mental, physical, or emotional harm. If the child is too young to make this decision, the court is likely to continue allowing the child to be raised in the religious tradition they experienced when their parents were together or that of the parent with primary custody. This is particularly the case if you or your ex-spouse changed religions after the divorce.
However, there is also the question of parental alienation to contend with. During a divorce, it is common for one parent to speak ill of the other in an attempt to damage or destroy their relationship with their child. This can occur with religion as well – if one parent speaks poorly of the other parent's religious beliefs, it can cause the child to look down on the parent and think less of them and their beliefs. If your ex-spouse has been badmouthing you and your religious beliefs in front of your child, it may be possible to sue for parental alienation. The Lento Law Firm is here to help you explore your legal options and understand the best path forward for you and your family.
How an Advisor Can Help
In nearly 20 years of working with New Jersey families in high-conflict situations, family law attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm know how stressful divorce can be. They are passionate about helping parents get justice when they have been wronged and pursuing legal outcomes that are in the best interest of the children. The Lento Law Firm is your best resource in your fight to ensure your children are brought up in a safe environment free from conflict and strife. Don't let the contentious words and actions of your ex-spouse undermine your relationship with your child after a divorce. Call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today.