Enforceability of Religious Upbringing Agreements in Child Custody Disputes
If you are in the early stages of your divorce case, or if you are considering a divorce in DuPage County, you may have concerns about your child’s religious upbringing once you and your spouse are sharing parental responsibilities from different households. Many parents in the DuPage Muslim community have had similar concerns while going through divorce cases, and it is important to know that Illinois law does have specific elements to guide courts in determining how a child’s religious upbringing will be handled after a divorce.
Generally speaking, courts will respect any agreement the parents have made about the child’s religious upbringing, but it is essential to have an experienced DuPage County child custody lawyer on your side who can represent you. Even if you do have an agreement with your spouse, divorces and child custody cases can get contentious, and you will need an advocate on your side.
When You Have an Express Agreement with Your Spouse About Your Child’s Religious Upbringing
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), determining how a child’s religious upbringing will be handled after a divorce is one part of the process of allocating parental responsibilities. The IMDMA clearly suggests that parents’ previous agreements generally will be upheld by the court. Accordingly, if you have an express agreement with your spouse—ranging from a legal contract that has been drawn up prior to or after the marriage, to a series of emails between you and your spouse in which you reach an agreement—the court will defer to the parents’ express agreement concerning the child’s religious upbringing.
When there is no express agreement, the court will look for evidence of an implied agreement between the parents about the child’s religious upbringing. An implied agreement might exist if both parents regularly took the child to religious services, enrolled the child in a religious education program, or practiced principles of the faith with the child. Your child custody lawyer can provide you with more information about how to show that there was an implied agreement concerning your child’s religious upbringing.
When You Do Not Have an Agreement with Your Spouse About Religious Upbringing and Parental Responsibilities
If you do not have an express or implied agreement in place, the court will not make a decision about your child’s religious upbringing unless it can determine that there is “evidence of the parents’ past conduct as to the child’s religious upbringing.” In other words, the child’s religious upbringing will only be part of the allocation of parental responsibilities if there is evidence of your past conduct (and the child’s other parent’s conduct) concerning religious upbringing.
Accordingly, if you and your spouse were raising your child according to the tenets of Islam, you should be able to expect that the court will focus on that when determining religious upbringing and parental responsibilities.
Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about enforcing an agreement you have with your current or former spouse concerning your child’s religious upbringing, one of our experienced Oakbrook Terrace child custody lawyers can help. Our firm has years of experience serving members of the DuPage County Muslim community, and we can begin working with you on your case. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call our firm at 630-909-9114 for more information.