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Considerations of custody and religion for Florida parents

by | Nov 11, 2016 | Child Custody

The vast majority of child custody cases involve two parents who are unable to come to terms over the care and custody of their shared children. Often, both parents simply want to spend as much time as possible with their kids, and many are able to work out custody agreements before the matters go to court. In some cases, however, Florida parents are simply unable to resolve the matters on their own and must turn to judges for help.

A recent case in a different state illustrates the many different issues that can pit one parent against the other. In this case, a couple shares five minor children, with the mother retaining primary custody and the father granted visitation. That arrangement changed after the father asked a court to grant him primary custody of the three youngest children due to claims that the mother acted with the purpose of alienating him from his children.

The source of that alienation, according to the father, was the mother allowing one of the older children to influence the younger children against the attending church. The older sibling regularly spoke to the younger children in a negative way concerning religion. At one point, the same child physically stopped her father from taking one of the siblings to church.

The mother pursued the matter before an appellate court, and the state’s Supreme Court ultimately reversed the decision. All five children were returned to the primary care of their mother. Many parents in Florida and across the nation believe that this case serves as a victory not only in regard to child custody rights but also as it pertains to issues of religious freedom and free speech.

Source: The Washington Post, “Court shifts custody because mother let child “talk negatively about religion” to siblings (thus supposedly alienating siblings from father)“, Eugene Volokh, Nov. 3, 2016

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