With Halloween coming next week, it is expected that children will be excited about dressing up as their favorite super hero, terrifying zombie or princess. They also look forward to canvassing their neighborhood in order to get a bounty of candy and treats.
However, what has become an annual occasion for fun and fright could become a serious point of contention between divorcing (or separated) parents. Some parents who hold strong religious convictions may not want their children participating in Halloween activities because it goes against their beliefs.
When parents disagree on imparting their religious values onto children and it causes a dispute, what can a parent do? One reaction is to seek court intervention so that a child can be allowed to participate in the event. However, this may not be best way to resolve the issue.
Courts are generally reluctant to issue rulings based on disputes on religious application. In essence, they would rather avoid issuing a ruling that could be construed as violating a parent’s religious freedoms. Nevertheless, when a court is confronted with such an issue, it tries to strike a balance between a parent’s religious freedom and the best interests of the child. In doing so, it may incorporate an expectation that even the most fervent of religious believers must put their children’s interests above their own.
Ultimately, parents should know that religious freedom cases are notoriously difficult issues for courts to handle, and each situation is unique and can garner a different result. If you have questions about how to handle these issues without court intervention, an experienced family law attorney can help.
Source: FindLaw.com, Divorce, Child Custody and Religion