Religion and Education Decisions To Be made By Both Parents Regardless Of Custody
- June 13, 2013
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In all custody and parenting matters, the best interests of the child are to be considered ahead of all by the court. The best interests of the child also must prevail when the court is forced to decide disputes relating to major decisions in the child’s life such as medical, educational or religious matters. In the recent case of Phillips v. Emerson, the parents were born and raised under different religions but neither practiced their religion during the marriage. When the parties divorced, Phillips was named the parent of primary residence and Emerson was named the parent of alternate residence. Phillips later remarried and began to participate more in religious activities with her new husband. Approximately 10 years after the parties’ divorce, Phillips enrolled the parties’ child in Catholic school without discussion with or consent from Emerson. Emerson raised issue with the court on the basis that the enrollment in Catholic school was intended solely as a means to further distance him from the parties’ daughter due to his Jewish upbringing. The NJ Appellate Division held that a plenary hearing was required to determine what was in the best interests of the child and that neither party should unilaterally make a decision of such import. If you are seeking or fighting a change in custody, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on child support, custody, parenting time/visitation, adoption, dissolution of a civil union, marriage or domestic partnership, modifications, alimony, palimony or other family or juvenile law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.