What Role Does Religion Play in a Parental Allocation Judgment?
When a married couple is considering divorce and has minor children from the marriage, deciding how the parents will share significant decision-making responsibilities for the child can be extremely complicated and contentious. As many parents in DuPage County likely know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) no longer uses the term “child custody” or “visitation,” but instead uses the term “parental responsibilities,” which includes both important decision-making responsibilities for the child in addition to parenting time.
When parents can agree to terms, they can develop a parenting plan to allocate parental responsibilities. When parents cannot agree, the court issues an allocation judgment that details how parents will share parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interests of the child. The child’s religious upbringing is one of the major issues involved in significant decision-making responsibilities. We want to say more about how the allocation of parental responsibilities involves a child’s religious upbringing, and to encourage you to get in touch with an Oakbrook Terrace family law attorney if you have additional questions.
How Does Illinois Law Define a Child’s Religious Upbringing?
Under the IMDMA, “religious upbringing” is defined as the choice of religion or participation in religious customs or practices, among others.
The IMDMA specifically lists religion as one of the primary issues to be considered in the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities, in addition to the child’s education, health, and extracurricular activities. If parents can agree on how they will share or manage the child’s religious upbringing, they can make that decision themselves through a parenting plan as long as the arrangement they propose is in the best interests of the child. Otherwise, the court will need to consider the child’s religious upbringing—primarily how and whether the parents will share this responsibility—in the allocation judgment.
Courts Defer to Parents’ Agreement About the Child’s Religious Upbringing
The IMDMA gives parents significant control when it comes to the child’s religious upbringing. The IMDMA specifically states that the court should apportion decision-making responsibility for the child’s religious upbringing in accordance with any agreement between the parents.
When there is no express or implied agreement between the parents about the child’s religious upbringing, then the court should take into consideration evidence of the parents’ past conduct regarding the child’s religious upbringing when it allocates parental responsibilities. In situations where there is no express or implied agreement about the child’s religious upbringing between the parents and there is “insufficient evidence” to show that the parents intended for a specific religious upbringing, then the court does not allocate “any aspect of the child’s religious upbringing.”
Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney
Matters concerning child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities can be extremely complicated, especially when parents disagree about the child’s religious upbringing. If you have questions or concerns about significant decision-making responsibilities, one of the skilled DuPage County child custody lawyers at our firm can begin working on your case today. Our firm regularly assists members of the DuPage County Muslim community with a wide variety of family law matters. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call us at 630-909-9114.