Religion playing larger role in child custody agreements

Over the past few years there has been a shift in custody agreements from just including who gets the kids for the holidays, to what the children’s religious upbringing will entail. And while some of these are not as detailed and just include information regarding what religion the children will be raised, others give very specific information regarding religious education and how certain rites of passage will be handled, like a confirmation or a bar mitzvah.

One divorced family recently shared their story. For the ex-spouses they were lucky enough to have an amicable divorce, but still wanted to just have clarification. Specifically, the custody agreement states that both the children will remain interfaith, as their father is Catholic and their mother is Jewish. Along those same lines, each parent has also agreed to not say anything negative or critical about the other parent’s faith, and to not make the children feel like they are one or the other between Jewish or Catholic, as they are both.

Of course, for some these intricate details may seem awkward, but many claim that that it actually helps prevent arguments between parents later on down the road.

And, while specific religious upbringing is now making its way into more and more custody agreements, experts also point to the fact that overall, many agreements are expanding in scope as parents specifically hash out aspects of raising their children related to parental dating, education and even whether medication would be given to a child if later on it turns out that he or she has attention deficit disorder.

In Missouri, these details are often laid out in a parenting plan, which is a requirement for any parents who have filed documents related to visitation or child custody.

Source: The Washington Post, “Divorce’s details: Custody agreements are getting more complex,” Michelle Boorstein, Dec. 26, 2011

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