Interfaith marriages are more common today than they were in the past. Unfortunately, interfaith divorces have also become more frequent. While most aspects of divorce are the same regardless of the religions of both spouses, a unique issue in an interfaith divorce is the religion of the children.
Even if one spouse converts to the other spouse’s religion before or during the marriage, they may return to their original religion once they get divorced. When this occurs, the children of the divorce are left with serious religious complications.
An Example of How Interfaith Divorce Impacts Children
For example, Jacob who is Jewish dates Heather who is Catholic. Prior to marriage, Heather converts to Judaism and once the couple is married, they have two children who they agree to raise Jewish. Years later when the couple divorces, Heather returns to Catholicism. Then, the issue of what religious services their children are allowed to attend and holidays they are allowed to celebrate comes up.
This example is similar to a real-life situation in Illinois where an ex-husband baptized his daughter and led her Jewish mother to file a lawsuit. In this case, the judge prohibited the father from exposing his daughter to raising his daughter in any other religion than Judaism since that is the religion in which she was raised.
In addition to issues related to baptisms and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, other issues such as what kind of holidays children of an interfaith couple could celebrate and what types of religious services and classes they could take can arise.
The impact of an interfaith divorce can be very difficult for a child, making it important for a divorcing interfaith couple to come to an agreement that is in the best interests of their child if possible. They can do so on their own or through mediation services.
If a couple cannot come to an agreement on their child’s religious future, an Illinois judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. A child ages 12 or older may be asked to express their opinion on which faith they prefer to practice.
Consult Our DuPage County Divorce Attorneys
If you are in the process of an interfaith divorce and religion will likely become an issue, you should reach out to our DuPage County divorce attorneys at 630-932-9100 today. We’ll help you determine the ideal way for the religious upbringing of your child to be established.
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