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Raising your children after divorce when you and your ex have different religions

Raising your children after divorce when you and your ex have different religions

Today, parents having different religions is more commonplace in our society. Families in this situation usually find their own unique ways of managing issues and answering questions which may come up with their kids. However, when parents of different faiths divorce, raising their children while honoring their respective beliefs can become complicated. Here are some considerations about raising your children when you and your ex have different religions:

Ask Yourself What Matters and Why

If you and your ex managed to marry and live together with different religions, it is possible you are not completely dissimilar when it comes to certain beliefs. If you once agreed that both faiths teach the values you want for your children but now insist that your religion be your child’s primary belief system, it’s important to examine your reasons for needing to exclude the other parent's religion. If it is more about fighting with your ex than instructing your child, you may need to re-examine your position. If you recognize commonalities, you and the other parent could agree to discuss the ways your religions are similar with your children and explain that having different views is acceptable.

Include Details in Your Parenting Agreement

Wisconsin law favors parents having an equal say in raising their children, and each parenting plan will be required to state what a child's religious commitment will be if any. Parents with different religions will have to develop their own plan to this effect, or the court may order one if they are unable to agree. Most people find that working out how they want things to function is far preferable to a judge's ruling. Your agreement could include terms which allow both of you to discuss your faiths without disparaging the other parent's beliefs to your child. Further, you could include specific provisions about the child’s participation in rituals such as baptism or bar mitzvahs.

Honor Special Holidays

When a child is raised with multiple religions, it is likely that his or her parents will want to be with them to celebrate significant holidays. Parents need to plan on how they can cooperate to allow their child to participate in important traditions and events. It may be helpful to consider how you managed these days before the divorce as you prepare your placement time and parenting agreement.


Raising children with different religions can be challenging but, by working together, showing respect, and focusing on the similarities of your beliefs, it is possible to create a plan which works for everyone. Attorney Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience assisting clients in planning for the future of their family during divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a "first look" at your circumstances.