Religion and Parenting Time
Many parents choose to raise their children with religion. For some, religious practices drive their daily actions and outlook on life. For others, religion is a connection to the family’s culture or a moral guideline to follow while navigating a largely secular life. As a parent, you typically have the right to decide the role religion will play in your child’s life.
When you have a court-ordered parenting plan, the court can put limits on your child’s religious upbringing when it feels certain religious practices or obligations are detrimental to your child’s well being. Overseeing your child’s religious upbringing is a parental responsibility that the court can grant to you and your former partner jointly or assign to one of you individually.
Parental Responsibility to Determine a Child’s Religious Upbringing
Generally, Florida courts favor granting parents shared parental responsibility for their children. In this type of arrangement, a child’s parents must determine how religion will work into a child’s life and cooperate with each other to raise their child within that religion. Issues to work out include:
- Determining how regularly the child will attend religious services;
- Whether to enroll the child in a private religious school, public school, or if he or she will be homeschooled;
- Deciding whether the child will attend extracurricular religious courses or activities, like catechism, Hebrew school, or a youth group;
- Determining how to handle certain religious milestones in the child’s life, like his or her bar/bat mitzvah; and
- Deciding how active the child will be in his or her religious community.
Courts Often Favor Consistency
In most cases, the court prioritizes keeping the child in an environment as similar as possible to his or her previous environment with a new parenting plan. This often means keeping the child in his or her same school and avoiding disruptions to his or her established routine when they can be avoided. If the child has an established history of attending church each Sunday, the court will likely try to maintain this schedule.
Determining What is in the Child’s Best Interest
When the court makes any decision about a child custody order, it considers a set of factors to determine the arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. Many of these factors directly and indirectly relate to the child’s religious upbringing, such as:
- The parents’ willingness to cooperate with each other and facilitate positive relationships between the child and each other;
- Whether the environment in either household could pose a threat to the child’s health or safety
- The child’s emotional and psychological needs;
- The child’s medical needs; and
- The child’s need for stability in his or her home
Work with an Experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney
When you are facing challenges regarding your child custody arrangement, work with an experienced Orlando child custody lawyer to reach an arrangement that fits your child’s best interest. To get started with our firm, contact the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office.