Father’s First Amendment Rights not Violated by Requirement to Arrange for Child’s Attendance at Roman Catholic Church

Can a noncustodial parent who is a member of the Baptist faith be required, during

Can a noncustodial parent who is a member of the Baptist faith be required, during periods of visitation, to arrange for his minor child's attendance at the Roman Catholic church in which she was being raised by her mother?

Yes, concluded an Illinois appeals court. The father argued that the trial court's order, insofar as it directed him as the noncustodial parent to take his daughter to a Roman Catholic church and not to his Baptist church violated his constitutional right to religious freedom.

The court, in rejecting this claim, noted that the father was not required to "observe the laws of the Roman Catholic church, but only (1) to make the transportation arrangements for his 7-year-old daughter to fulfill her religious obligation when it falls during his visitation periods; and (2) not take the daughter to religious services other than those approved by the custodial parent. We find nothing in the order which would violate the father's first amendment rights to the free exercise of his religion. Rather, the order was clearly directed to the accommodation to be made in the child's best interests given that the custodial parent … has the right to direct the educational and religious training of the child, which in this case was in the Roman Catholic faith." In re marriage of Tisckos, 514 N.E. 2d 523 (Ill. App. 1987)

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