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Sharon Easley
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Can mediation help when parents have different religious beliefs?

After years of trying, you and your spouse have finally decided to call it quits. You both simply have too many differences to make your marriage work. However, now you have children to worry about, and both of you have significantly different philosophies on raising children – especially when it comes to your religious beliefs. If your faith is causing a great deal of contention during your divorce and visitation battle, you are not alone. Countless people in Texas and elsewhere are going through the same thing.

As you might expect, two people with differing faith beliefs can have a difficult marriage. The Chicago Tribune reported the results of an extensive interfaith marriage survey. The journalist conducting the survey determined that people in mixed faith marriages tend to be less stable, happy and satisfied with their relationships, with the divorce rate for interfaith marriages being high.

You might not be surprised to hear that children can be greatly impacted by their parents’ arguments over religion, which may include the following:

  • Arguments over whether to allow prayer and scripture study in the home
  • A power struggle over which church to take the children to, if at all
  • A fight during the divorce over which religion to raise the children in, as well as the right to take the children to church or not to allow church attendance during visitation

You might wonder if you can pass on your faith beliefs to your children after your divorce or allow them to continue attending a church they love – or to protect them from what you perceive as a harmful belief system. Religious beliefs are deeply personal, and both you and your spouse could argue endlessly over which religion, if any, to bring up your children in. As with other disputes, you may find mediation helpful in developing compromises that you both can live with and which can preserve the peace within your family – something that most faith systems can agree on.

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