Can I change my child's religion?

Changing your child’s religion is a process that deals with the faith and practices of both parents if they have different religious affiliations or denominations. Dealing with religious realignment and alteration of your child's religious affiliation during a divorce has a lot of perceived difficulty. Legally changing the religious status of your child can be confusing if you don't understand some of the things listed in this article. 

Changing your child’s religion is a joint custody matter

Changing your child's religion deals with your joint custody agreement. In New Mexico, many variables like healthcare, school, and religion play into legal custody. Legal custody means that both parents share decision-making for significant changes in their child’s life. If your child is old enough to decide their religious status, let them decide, they have first amendment rights like all other citizens. However, if the child is too young or unable to give input on their religious preference, you can make a case for their religious alignment. 

Seek mediation if an agreement cant be reached

If parents or guardians can’t reach an agreement on their own when determining their child’s religion, seek mediation. One parent or guardian's preference toward their child’s faith should be one of many variables that play into a child’s best interest. For example, some religious practices or preferences of the parent or guardian result in risking the child's safety. In that case, the judge will most likely limit the exposure to that religion to protect the child. However, if evidence of excessive harm and abuse to the child is not present or obvious, the judge won't interfere with the parent or guardians’ religious practices with their children; parents or guardians with legal custody of their child can't regulate their former spouse’s religious practices with their child unless it’s endangering them.

Court intervention with your child’s religion

A court or judge deeming a child with religious affiliation and its practices is prohibited. Both parties should decide if the child should be allowed to follow one, both, or neither of the religions or faiths. As soon as the child reaches the age of adulthood, the dependent will take responsibility for all their religious preference. 

Let our New Mexico lawyers help

Whether it be issues concerning joint custody and changes in a legal custody agreement or anything else that deals with domestic law, our Albuquerque lawyers will assist you and go above and beyond to ensure our service is tailored to your needs and goals. Our New Mexico family lawyers know how important this is to you, and we want to help you make the right decisions. Contact us at (505)-317-4455 or fill out our online contact form today. Let’s schedule an initial meeting to discuss your legal options for your child’s official religion.

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond