Religion is important to you.
You may be wondering: “Will my Charleston divorce judge consider religion in deciding child custody?”
The answer to your question is: “Yes.” Religion can be a significant factor in determining physical child custody (i.e., where your child will primarily live) and legal child custody (i.e., who will make decisions regarding religion for your child) in your Charleston, SC divorce case.
Charleston Child Custody Judges Must Consider Religion
Charleston divorce judges are required by the South Carolina child custody law to consider the “religious faith of the child” and “religious training” in deciding physical child custody. Charleston divorce judges generally prefer to give physical child custody to the parent who follows the same religious faith as the child.
South Carolina law does not permit your child custody judge to favor one religion over another. Your judge must remain impartial between religions. For example, your judge cannot rule in favor of you just because you are a member of a Baptist, Catholic, or other church that your judge views favorably. Likewise, your Charleston divorce judge cannot give preference to a Christian approach to religion as contrasted with an atheistic approach to religion.
Your child custody judge will strive to maintain stability in your child’s life. Your Charleston judge may make the physical child custody decision in part on the basis of which parent is most likely to continue the pre-divorce religious and spiritual teaching and beliefs of your child.
Child Custody Disputes Regarding Religion Can Be Difficult to Resolve.
Child custody disputes regarding a child’s religion are typically hotly contested. If the religion of your child is important to you, you will need to prove at your divorce trial how you can provide a better quality of life and impart a better set of values for your child through your religious commitment.
Instead of focusing on the particular teachings of your church, your Charleston judge will be more interested in how participation in the activities of your specific faith or church may benefit your child. If your judge concludes that your child will benefit from continued participation in activities at your church or synagogue, it could be the key factor in deciding child custody.
Without professional assistance, it will probably be difficult for you to prove: (a) the ways in which your religion – as contrasted with your spouse’s religion – may benefit your child; or (b) what is the religious faith of your child. Consequently, you should hire an experienced Charleston child custody lawyer to represent you.
Your Charleston Judge May Give One Parent Sole Authority to Make Religious Decisions for Your Child
Your judge can order that religious decisons for your child will be made jointly by you and your spouse. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on the church or synagogue that your child will attend, your divorce judge may grant sole legal custody to one parent to make all religious decisons for your child. If your judge gives your spouse sole authority to make religious decisions for your child, it could affect your child eternally.
A dispute over the choice of your child’s religion can involve many complex fact and legal issues. With the assistance of your Charleston child custody attorney, you may be able to prove at your divorce trial one or more of the following points:
- The competing religious beliefs and practices of you and your spouse will have different effects on your child.
- Participating in your religion will provide greater benefits for your child socially, emotionally, and/or spiritually.
- Following your spouse’s religion could be harmful to your child’s physical or mental health.
- The religious instruction of your spouse’s faith will damage your continuing relationship with your child.
If your Charleston divorce lawyer can prove that your child might suffer harm from participating in your spouse’s religious practices, your child custody judge may give significant weight to such evidence in deciding who will make religious decisions for your child.
You Should Hire a Charleston Child Custody Attorney
Approximately 50% of Charleston’s residents claim to be members of a church or synagogue. Consequently, it is not surprising that a husband and wife will often fight in a Charleston divorce over who will have the authority to make religious decisions for a child.
As an experienced divorce and child custody lawyer in Charleston, SC, I can help you with your child custody case. Please call me now at 843-631-7117.
Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your mother’s rights or father’s rights in your Charleston child custody case. I will be quick to respond.
Working together, we will protect your parental rights and build a better future for you and your child in Awendaw, Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, or West Ashley.