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Child Custody and Religious Beliefs

Can a court remove children from a parent on the basis of the parent's religious beliefs?

• Did a trial court abuse its discretion in removing 2 children from the custody of their father because of his conservative religious beliefs? Yes, concluded a Pennsylvania state appeals court. A couple was divorced, and primary custody of their minor children was awarded to the father. Following the divorce, the mother began living with a new boyfriend (the two were not married), while the husband continued to live in the traditional family home and enrolled the children in a fundamentalist Christian school. Three years later, the mother asked the court to award primary custody of the two children to her. She based her request largely on the father's fundamentalist religious beliefs and his insistence that the children attend a church-operated school. The trial court agreed with the mother's request, and ordered the children removed from their father's home and transferred to their ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 1991