In the first throes of love when you were dating, and even during your initial years of marriage, it never seemed that important that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse didn’t share the same religious background.
Your wedding incorporated traditions from both faiths. Everyone thought the ceremony was lovely and your future was bright. But a few years down the road, you’re fighting about everything – most notably in which religion (if any) to raise your children.
Which parent gets to decide the kids’ faith?
Deciding in which religion you plan to raise your future children is a major decision that, hopefully, all couples discuss before becoming parents. Unfortunately, even interfaith couples sometimes make oblivious assumptions about their own religious persuasions being passed down to their children.
That’s fine when the other parent has no objection. When they do object to rearing their children in a certain faith, however, this can create marital problems. Whether those problems prove to be insurmountable or are the straw breaking the camel’s back, religious disagreements need to be addressed in the custody arrangements.
Who makes the ultimate decision?
Parents should ideally be able to negotiate this issue between themselves and arrive at a decision or at least a compromise. Some religions, e.g., Judaism, follow a matrilineal line, which could be a factor in the decision.
Should the parents fail to reach an accord, the Maryland family law courts are the final arbiters, assigning legal custody to one parent who will make the major decisions, including any religious upbringing for the children. If this is a pivotal matter in your child custody case, stay abreast of all developments that arise in your divorce.