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Parents may share custody but not religious traditions, Part II

Yesterday, we talked a little about how interfaith parenting and divorce are becoming more commonplace in Atlanta. Part of the challenge that divorced parents of differing religious backgrounds face is how to deal with custody arrangements and religious holidays. Parents and their child custody attorneys will ultimately come up with an agreement on how to deal with holidays and changes to the standard custody arrangement, just like they will address how to work around issues related to religious practice.

Many religious traditions have dietary restrictions, from the strict kosher and halal laws of Judaism and Islam, respectively, to the less stringent rules of Catholicism around Lent. When one parent follows a dietary restriction and the other doesn't, it can be difficult for children traveling between the two homes.

Parents need to work together, or at least work through their attorneys, on how best to tackle this issue. It is hard for children to live under vastly different rules in their parents' respective homes, especially when each parent is telling them different reasons as to why a dietary restriction is important or not. As part of a child custody agreement, parents can make binding decisions about what religious traditions must be observed and which are allowed to fall by the wayside.

Not all interfaith families have such problems during divorce, but when religious problems are a factor, they can cause considerable discord among parents and confusion among children. Trying to be consistent with children about religious rules and practices, however, is often best.

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

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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