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How does religion play into child custody?-Part I

America is a democratic country in which with people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds come together and live harmoniously. Because of that, inter-religious marriages are not uncommon. When one of these couples has children and then divorces, religious differences not only become a subject of conflict, but those religious differences may also come up with regards to child custody. If the matter goes before a judge it can become rather controversial because the First Amendment allows every U.S. citizen to practice their own faith and religion.

All child custody matters in Arkansas are decided based on the principle of “best interest of the child.” Thus, it might become imperative to determine which religious practices are best for the child. This is a matter that is often best left to negotiation between the parties away from the courtroom.

In order to show that a religious belief is not in a child’s best interest, an attorney needs to prove that the religious practices of one of the parents actually puts the child in the face of substantial and actual harm. There are many cases that show that when the chosen religion of one of the parents causes the children actual physical or even emotional, that parent’s right to raise the child with the religious beliefs of their choosing may be suspended. However, that is only if the case is proved by the attorney who represents the other parent.

This is a highly complex matter. For that reason, it is crucial that anyone facing a similar situation, or anyone who anticipates facing such complications, thoroughly discuss the matter with a legal professional. By doing this, a parent may be able to ensure that he or she makes a strong claim for raising his or her child within his or her religion.

Source: FindLaw, “Divorce: child custody and religion,” Accessed on Aug. 24, 2015

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