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Religion and your parenting plan: What to consider

You and your spouse came from different backgrounds and different religions, but you made it work -- for a while. Now that you're divorcing, however, your religious differences can affect your parenting plans.

Assuming that you have joint custody of the kids, you and your spouse should talk about the following issues now --before they have a chance to cause problems later:

  • What's the current agreement regarding religion and the kids? The court may seek to keep the status quo, so it's important to address whether you've agreed to expose your child to both religions, just one or neither -- and exactly what that means. That may be particularly significant if either you or your spouse adopts a more devout practice as time goes on.
  • Where's the line between exposure and indoctrination? You may agree, for example, that it's okay for your spouse to take your child to Sunday mass, but draw the line at confirmation into the Catholic Church while your child is still a minor.
  • How will you handle the holidays? If you and your spouse don't celebrate the same special events, you may be able to divide those up with some ease when it comes to your parenting time. If any overlap, you may have other issues you need to address.

Naturally, you may not be able to head off every potential conflict associated with religion, especially as your children grow older and develop minds of their own. A good parenting plan will, however, try to anticipate as many conflicts as possible. It's smart to rely on your attorney's experience with such matters as you move forward.

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