Thursday, September 4, 2014

Which Parent Decides on Children's Religious Training after a Divorce

A recent case from the Florida First District Court of Appeal discusses what, if any, restrictions are allowed to be placed on a parent regarding the religious training of their children. (Pierson v. Pierson, 1D14-79 (Fla. 1st DCA August 18, 2014).

In the recent case, the divorcing parents had three children (ages 11, 9, and 5). Since birth they had all been raised Catholic - the mother's faith. During the parties' separation, the Husband became a Jehovah's Witness. After being exposed to his father's religion, the parties' 3rd grade son went to Sunday school and told the class that: (1) their songs were wrong, (2) priests were bad, (3) their bible was wrong, and (4) there was no heaven.

The mother asked the trial court to prohibit the father from exposing the children to other religions. A licensed psychotherapist testified on bahalf of the mother that she found "the beginnings of a substantial emotional  problem" in the oldest son (then 9) as a result of "being immersed in and exposed to two religions simultaneously."

Based on this "demonstrated harm," the trial judge gave ultimate religious decision making authority to the mother. The Court prohibited the father "from doing anthing in front of the children...that disparages or conflicts with the Catholic religion." The mother was also prohibited from disparaging the father's beliefs in front of the children.

The District Court of Appeals (DCA) quoted the United States Supreme Court, "...parents have the right to direct the religious upbringing of their children." The DCA went on to point out that "restrictions upon a non-custodial parent's right to expose children to their beliefs have consistently been overturned absent a clear, affirmative showing that the religious activities at issue will be harmful to the child."

In the case before them, the DCA noted that the psychotherapist's testimony was based on the report of a Sunday School teacher and not on an examination of the child. As a result, the DCA held that there was no evidence presented that the child was harmed by exposure to his father's religion. Therefore the restrictions placed on the father were held to violate his First Amendment rights and were overturned.

The bottom line is that restriction placed on religious training will be overturned unless there is demonstrated harm to the child based on a evaluation by a medical professional.


Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer


6 comments:

  1. It's important that parents talk about this mutually, even if they are divorced. They will still have to work together and decide what is best for their children. It can be hard, but open communication will still need to be a part of their relationship. http://www.maurosavolaw.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Child Custody is probably the most difficult issue addressed by the family courts. Not knowing what will happen to your children after
    a relationship is over can be extremely stressful, making it difficult to think clearly when making important decisions about your future.That is where the assistance of an experienced, compassionate lawyer can make a big difference.David L. Moreno, an experienced Staten Island divorce attorney. Having handled hundreds of divorces and other family law matters in Staten Island courts, understands the complexities of the system and is prepared to help all his clients resolve all
    types of issues. Along with Divorce Law, they also provide the best child custody, parental relocation,Family Mediation Service. child support,
    Prenups and many more.And his charges are quite reasonable as well.
    You may call his office at
    718.727.2327

    http://morenodivorcelaw.com/
    http://morenodivorcelaw.com/divorce/
    http://morenodivorcelaw.com/child-custody/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing the answer to Which Parent Decides on Children's Religious Training after a Divorce. I was too searching answer for the same question. Cusack, Gilfillan, & O’Day, LLC- The Top Law Firm in Peoria, IL for Handling Any Legal Matter. Visit http://www.peorialawfirm.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's essential that guardians talk about this commonly, regardless of whether they are separated. They will even now need to cooperate and choose what is best for their youngsters. It tends to be hard, yet open correspondence will even now should be a piece of their relationship.Lawyers in Qatar

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looking for a Divorce Lawyer Miami? Aventura divorce law firm of Farber Law, P.A. has vast experience in representing individuals in variety of divorce and family law cases. We help you with your legal and other family law matters. To schedule a consultation to discuss your family law or divorce case, contact us today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Child upbringing is a big derision and Religious is one of the most important decision. It can be decided mutual which region should be followed by their child or you can consult a family lawyer.For consultancy pl;ease visit our website: https://www.vonderheideknecht.com/family-and-divorce

    ReplyDelete