I recently read an interesting article about an interfaith couple’s struggle with custody of their daughter. The father, Joseph Reyes, is Christian and the child’s mother, Rebecca is Jewish. The couple is involved in a custody battle that could put Reyes in jail for taking their daughter to church.
Rebecca claims Joseph converted to Judaism and agreed to raise their daughter as a Jew, but Joseph claims his conversion was just ceremonial. When he and Rebecca split, Joseph had their daughter baptized behind Rebecca’s back and later e-mailed her photos of the ceremony. Rebecca sought a temporary restraining order to keep Joseph from taking the girl to Mass, but Joseph ignored the order. He has since been charged with a contempt charge and could face jail time. The article cites that the child is being indoctrinated into the Christian faith without her consent. Her attorney wants the father to follow the temporary restraining order.
In California, the right to determine the religion of the child after a divorce is determined by the Legal custody and which parent has it. If it is joint then both parties have the ability to determine and cooperate on the religion.
The article cites that experts on interfaith marriage say a better insurance policy would have been to develop negotiation skills before marriage. Joseph claimed that his wife was never very religious, never kept kosher and did not regularly observe the Sabbath.
The article states when interfaith couples fail to discuss the fundamental differences in their religions, it becomes a big white elephant in the home, but if couples deal with it straight out, they can have very strong marriages.
For some couples a disagreement about religion can be a deal-breaker, but you shouldn’t be afraid to discuss these things with your partner. If you don’t talk about touchy subjects before marriage it can lead to trouble later on.
If you have a child custody dispute please feel free to contact my Santa Clara County Child Custody Law offices. Proudly serving the following cities, Milpitas, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Mountain View, and Santa Clara.