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Church attendance questioned in parenting plan dispute

| Jul 11, 2019 | Child Custody |

For many people in Illinois and across the country, religion is a deeply personal and important issue. For some, their life centers around their devotion to their spirituality. Unfortunately, parents who have different ideas regarding religion may struggle to agree on how their children should interact with their faith. In fact, church attendance was recently at the center of a parenting plan dispute that occurred in another state; the state’s Supreme Court was ultimately required to weigh in on the issue.

The case involved the divorce decree of a man and woman who have two children together. Their divorce decree reportedly requires that the children “participate” in the Catholic faith. Though the decree specifically mentioned certain events and classes, a dispute developed when the father learned that the mother was taking the children to a church of another denomination.

The father originally argued that participation in the Catholic faith required attendance at weekly mass and on certain holidays. As such, a judge ruled that the mother must either allow the father to take the children to mass during her parenting time or take them herself. That ruling was appealed, however, and the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that civil courts could not make such determinations and that requiring participation, as indicated in the decree, was vague. However, the mother is required to request permission to attend religious events of other denominations with the children, as is required in the divorce decree. 

Many parents in Illinois are dedicated to ensuring that the needs of their children are met. Unfortunately, some divorced couples struggle to agree on what those needs are and how to meet them. Though it may become necessary to ask a court to intervene regarding a disagreement over a parenting plan or a related issue, many people with little experience with family law lack confidence in their ability to address such issues on their own. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help guide them throughout the process.