What Does Divorce Mean for Children of Interfaith Marriages?

I am sure that we all know families with parents of different religious faiths. Raising children interfaith while married may have both its difficulties and joys. However, the challenges may become more complicated if the parents chose to divorce. The question of how to raise children of a particular religion while also respecting the religious traditions of both parents may be tricky to answer.

How does NJ law answer this question?

  • The custodial parent controls the religious upbringing of the children of the marriage unless there is an agreement specifying differently
  • However, there are limits on the control that the custodial parent can exert over time spent with the non-custodial parent
  • The non-custodial parent may still expose the children to his or her own religion and customs during parenting time

An Example:

  • In a marital settlement agreement, a custodial mother and non-custodial father agreed that their children would be raised Roman Catholic, the faith of their mother
  • The non-custodial father brought the children to non-denominational Christian services during his parenting time on the weekends and the mother sought to prevent the children from attending
  • The Appellate Division found that the father was within his rights to bring his children to these services as the children were still being raised Roman Catholic and forbidding him from taking his children during parenting time would violate the father’s religious freedom

Next Step:

If you are considering a divorce and you and your spouse are of different faiths, this may be something to consider moving forward. The attorneys at the Law Office of Sara McArdle are here for you every step of the way. Call our office at 973-366-5244 to schedule a consultation today.