Is religion something to be considered in child custody matters?

Should religion be considered? This is currently the question raised by a mother seeking custody of her children in the Texas court system.

She and her husband are in the middle of a divorce proceeding after a 20-year marriage. The couple has three children together. The couple considered themselves Catholic until the wife converted to Wiccan. The husband is still a practicing Catholic.

Now it is her religious beliefs that have become the center of their child custody dispute concerning their three children. She says that she is being heavily scrutinized, not based on her ability and experience as a parent, but rather based upon her religious beliefs.

Among the father’s concerns are that their mother has a Wiccan shop and a make-shift temple in their backyard, including pentagrams and bones. She also provides Tarot Card reading services and exorcisms for a fee at their home. Sometimes this allegedly involves strangers being treated for spiritual ailments in the nude. The father’s main concern appears to be that his children are endangered by the types of people that they will come in contact with and who visit the home because of her religious beliefs and practices.

From her perspective, she believes she is a good mother who has always been present for her children. She accuses her husband of being an absentee father during their lives. She alleges that he has only spent approximately five out of the 20 years that they were married with the children.

These are the circumstances that a family court judge in Texas must consider in determining what is in the best interest of these children, and whether this woman’s religion should be factored into the equation.

Source:, “Wiccan Mom Fighting for Her Kids,” Isiah Carey, March 14, 2012