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Parents may share custody but not religious traditions, Part I

The Atlanta region has become increasingly diverse in the past 20 years, which also means that there are more and more people of very different religions getting married and raising children together. For some, religion plays a relatively minor role and there is little to no conflict over religious differences, but for divorcing or divorced parents, how they incorporate religion into children's lives must be done carefully.

Joint child custody may mean that a Georgia family law judge has given both parents the right to teach the children about their respective religions, but there are certain considerations that parents must take when dealing with religious differences. Even if religion was one of the reasons why the parents divorced, it is crucial not to insult or berate the other parent for his or her religious beliefs, especially not in front of the children.

Parents should also be flexible when it comes to religious holidays. While it is understandable that parents want to spend their holidays with their children and extended family members may pressure parents to include their children in holidays, it is important to recognize that there are limits.

Can a Muslim parent ask for his or her child for all of the holy month of Ramadan? Can a Jewish parent ask for his or her child for every single Jewish holiday (many of which are many days long)? Even if the child's parent is willing to make those concessions, he or she will likely have custody on many or all secular holidays.

Discussing religion and child custody can be difficult, but it is an important aspect of interfaith divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Co-Parenting When Religious Considerations Are Significant," Tara Fass, July 9, 2013

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