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Who decides a child's religion after divorce?

When you go through a divorce, one of the things that may come up is a difference in religions. For example, if you have joined a church during your marriage while your spouse decided to join a mosque, you may have differences in how you approach religion and spirituality.

For adults, that's not a problem. The trouble is when two religions could have an impact on a child. Perhaps one parent doesn't want the child to learn about the other religion or the other would like the child to avoid any religious education at all. In either case, both parents need to come to an agreement.

How do you decide on your child's religion?

To start with, if a parent has sole custody, that parent is likely to have the right to teach the child any religion he or she sees fit. However, if parents share physical and legal custody, both get a say. In any situation involving religion, remember that the decision you make has to be in the best interests of your child. In most situations, the court won't rule against either parent if they both share custody, but if a religion has the potential to harm the child in some way, the judge could decide that the child will not be allowed to participate.

Every situation is a little different, so it's a good idea to talk to your attorney if you're unhappy with your child's religious upbringing. There may be good ways to negotiate, like educating your child on both religions or not educating your child on either until he or she is old enough to ask about them on his or her own. A good parenting agreement will address religion before your divorce is final, helping avoid this situation completely.

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