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Melissa A. Featherston

Child custody agreements start to include religion

Most parents want what's best for their children; however, each parent might have a different idea on what's best. During a divorce, child custody agreements tend to include things like whose house the children will spend certain holidays at, and what school they will attend. What about divorcing parents who have different belief and religions?

A new trend is showing an increase in the amount of child custody agreements that include religious requirements. Now, these agreements are including things such as what religion and denomination the children will be raise as, what church they will attend, who will pay for a bar mitzvah, or how long the children will go to Sunday school.

Some agreements can even get very detailed. They can bar parents from talking critically about the other's religion and prevent them from trying to get their children to believe they are one religion instead of another. They also outline details about certain holidays and what each parent is expected to do. Can a parent set up a Christmas tree if the other parent is Jewish? Can the non-Catholic parent have their kids go to a Lutheran church? These are the details that need to be worked out between parents and are finding their way into child custody agreements.

These agreements should be used with caution, but experts say they can be very beneficial in preventing conflict between the two parents and confusion with their children. On top of religion, child custody agreements are getting more complex with regards to topics such as parental dating and even how to discipline the children.

Source: The Washington Post, "Divorce's details: Custody agreements are getting more complex," Michelle Boorstein, Dec. 26, 2011

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