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Integrating religion into your custody agreement

So, you have decided to divorce your spouse. Going through child custody negotiations is generally a daunting task, but it can become even more difficult for families with mixed religious traditions. Interestingly, the number of divorces among so-called interfaith marriages appears to be higher than the rate within other groups. As a result, more multi-faith families are struggling to hash out the details of their custody agreements to accommodate the needs of both parents and children.

It may not seem like much, but religion can play a huge role in your custody agreement. What if, for example, your ex-spouse is Muslim, but you are Christian? Will your children be permitted to eat pork products when they are at your house? What about faith traditions that observe the Sabbath or other periodic holy days? If you are not careful, you could end up with a serious conflict on your hands because you failed to consider your ex's faith requirements.

Your first step toward religious integration in your custody agreement is the identification of important religious holidays. Consider the fact that Ramadan last throughout an entire month in the summer, while Easter also encompasses Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. If you want to craft your custody agreement to accommodate both religions, you will need to do your research about specific dates of important holidays. This will allow both parents to maximize their time with their children during religious holiday seasons.

When you are going through a child custody negotiation, remember that religious holidays are designed to speak to worshippers, not cause hardship. Consider your children's needs and preferences as you hash out a custody agreement with your ex-spouse. If you are asking for more religious holidays with the kids, consider offering more secular holidays to your spouse; think about Independence Day or Labor Day, for example.

If you are experiencing difficulty finalizing your child custody agreement because of religious conflict, consider seeking the assistance of a qualified family law professional. These attorneys can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities in the courtroom.

Source:, "Co-parenting when religious considerations are significant" Tara Fass, Jul. 09, 2013

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