What religion your child is raised in can be an important decision during marriage. After a divorce or custody case, this issue can become even more complicated.
There is no uniform law regarding this issue; therefore, should one parent argue that the other parent’s religion is “not in the best interests of the child”, the court has no clear guidelines and is left with the decision of choosing whether or not limiting one parent’s First Amendment and parenting rights is, in fact, in the best interests of the child.
In New Jersey, family courts have established some guidelines involving child custody and a child’s faith development. In general, New Jersey courts have held that the primary custodian of the child will have the final say over the religion, religious practices and religious upbringing of the child. The reasoning behind this guideline is that the courts are reluctant to place children in the uncomfortable position of facing additional conflicts and pressures to choose between their parents’ religions. It is important to note, however, that although New Jersey case law has consistently given the custodial parent the right to determine the child’s religion, that right is not absolute, and may be limited in certain situations.
DeTorres & DeGeorge provides experienced representation in custody and divorce cases in New Jersey. Call us today.