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3 Ways Religion May Impact Your Parenting Plan

Parenting plans plan the schedule for your child for every day (and even every hour) of the child’s life. Well written parenting plans should reflect the needs and interests of the child and the child’s parents. This includes the religious beliefs of the involved parties. Here are three areas of Washington State parenting plans that may be affected by the parties’ religion(s):

  1. The holiday schedule. This one is pretty obvious. Many religions celebrate (or abstain from celebrating) certain holidays. The parenting plan should reflect this. If both parents celebrate the same holidays, most plans alternate the schedule to have the child with one parent one year, and the other parent the following year. If the parents celebrate different holidays (for example Christmas and Hanukkah) many plans have the child spending the holiday with the parent that celebrates (in the case of Christmas and Hanukkah, the priority would have to go to one holiday each year in case of a conflict).
  2. The other section. Some families choose to add other directives to the parents in the other section. They might choose to include religious dietary choices (like feeding the child vegetarian, participating in fasts, or avoiding certain meats). This section may also include the choice of religion the parents have made for the child and an agreement to take the child to church.
  3. Decision making. The parents may choose to designate (or the court may order) one parent to make religious decisions for the child. This means the designated parent will have the ability to choose the child’s religious involvement.

If you or your child’s other parent is religious, it is important that you advise your family law attorney of this information. The more information you provide your attorney regarding how you plan to raise your child, the better your attorney can draft a parenting plan tailored to your child’s needs.

If you have questions about your parenting plan, or any other family law issue, please contact us today.