More divorcing couples addressing matters of faith

When it comes to child custody agreements, most people would probably think that they were generally straightforward and could even be somewhat open-ended when it came to such matters as health, education or religion — perhaps indicating that the parents will solve such matters jointly.

While this is certainly true of many agreements, it appears that more and more parents are now choosing to spell out in greater detail how they will handle matters of religious faith in their child custody agreements.

For example, instead of simply listing which parent will get the children for holidays, the child custody agreement may outline the faith under which the child will be raised, the number of years the child will attend Sunday school, the type of services to be attended and the degree to which a non-custodial parent may discuss matters of faith.

While spelling out a child’s religious upbringing in such a precise and detailed manner may seem somewhat unrealistic and perhaps even awkward, some family professionals argue that it can help prevent fighting among divorced spouses and even introduce some much-needed stability for the children.

However, other experts point out that a person’s point of view concerning religion can change dramatically over the years, such that a parent — or even their children — may no longer wish to follow the rather rigid confines set forth in the custody agreement.

“The thing that has to be impressed on parents is, you don’t want to confuse your kid,” said Darcy Shoop, a Maryland-based divorce attorney. “You have to be careful with this stuff.”

No matter what side of the issue these experts support, it appears increasingly likely that more divorcing couples will continue to spell out matters of faith in their child custody agreements/parenting plans.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think parents are better off being more general or more specific when it comes to religion?

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Washington Post, “Divorce’s details: Custody agreements are getting more complex” Dec. 26, 2011