Child Custody Orders can not favor one parents religious beliefs

There’s no question that a child custody order can take the parents’ religion – and the children’s religious education and observance – into account. But a recent case shows that a custody order that goes too far in favor of one parent’s religion might not be okay.

In this case, a husband wanted to raise his two children as Jews. A custody order allowed him to have the children on all Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings so they could attend Jewish religious training, and also said that he could have custody on major Jewish holidays, including Passover and all eight days of Hanukkah. The father’s right to the children on these occasions would take precedence over all other custody arrangements.

On appeal, however, the Court of Appeals questioned whether this order went too far. It noted, for instance, that the mother would never be able to see her children on Christmas, New Year’s or Easter if those dates conflicted with a Hanukkah or Passover celebration. [Read more…]