How to Handle Religious Differences with Your Ex-Spouse
Even if you and your spouse maintained the same religious views while you were married, often times after divorce your ideas may drift apart. This can cause contention in a co-parenting relationship as you may end up on opposing ends of the religious spectrum.
Tension may grow as you both try to parent in accordance with what you feel your child should be a part of.
How Can We Co-Parent if We Don’t Agree on Religion?
When it comes to co-parenting, religion most likely won’t be the only life decision for your child that you and your ex don’t agree on, so how do you continue to work together?
While co-parenting can be difficult, it isn’t impossible. There are many great resources available to assist you in co-parenting. At Burton Law, we maintain a library of several books to which our clients have access that can help you learn tools to effective co-parenting.
Legal Authority to Decide Religion
Generally, an order establishing custody grants one party with the authority to make final decisions regarding the child, which may include religious decisions. While it’s important to keep the co-parent involved, sometimes the parent with final decision-making authority has to make the final call. Often, the Court will expect the authorized parent to involve the other parent in the decision.
Before bypassing the other parent, start with having a discussion. Topics that can be discussed include:
- The religious decision you are wanting to make.
- The reason it’s important to you.
- The benefits you see for your child by making the decision.
- Your co-parent’s thoughts/opinions on the matter.
Make It a Discussion
Have the respect to discuss important decisions with your ex and inform him/her of events and happenings in your child’s life. Doing this will help keep your ex in the loop and may help to defuse the situation so he/she isn’t always in defense mode. Finally, always remember that your motivation should be your child’s best interest.
While a simple conversation doesn’t always get parties on the same page, it’s definitely worth a shot, especially since it’s less expensive than a conversation in a courtroom over a co-parenting issue.
If you or someone you know is struggling with co-parenting issues, contact Burton Law to schedule a time to speak to one of our experienced attorneys today.
Michael B. Lundberg is a native of Logan, Utah. While in law school, Mike served as the Executive Articles Editor of the Journal of Law and Family Studies and was published in that Journal, as well as the Utah Law Review. During his third year, he also found time to serve as President of the James E. Faust Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Mike has worked in a wide variety of areas in the legal field. During law school he worked as an extern with the First District Court in Logan, and later as an extern with the Utah Court of Appeals in the chambers of Judge Carolyn McHugh. After graduation, he was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship to work with Christensen & Jensen, PC in Salt Lake City. He then spent 18 months working as a law clerk for the City Attorney in Park City. He joined Burton Law Firm after operating as a sole practitioner for two years. During this time, he also served on the board of the Utah Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar.