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Fathers' Rights and Faith: Did Religion Affect Custody Decision?

A recent child custody case involves a father fighting for his rights not only as a parent of three, but as a United States citizen who feels his constitutional rights have been violated. According to a USA Today piece, a judge recently made a ruling in a child custody case that's left the father at the losing end of the decision disappointed in the system.

The agitated father suspects that the judge overstepped his duties by taking religious issues into consideration regarding the custody decision. Sole custody of the man's children was granted to the mother in the case, but the father reportedly intends to challenge that ruling.

As a basis of his appeal, the father argues that the judge acted against the constitution in making his decision to grant custody of the three children to the mother due to religious bias. The father in this family law case is admittedly agnostic, which he thinks moved the judge to rule in favor of the Christian mother.

The judge, however, denies any wrongdoing and insists that his ruling is based on the standard, legal issues usually considered in such custody disputes, such as fit parenting, education, and health care. He claims, "I have never rendered a decision concerning custody on the basis of one of the parents' religious beliefs."

Doing so would be unconstitutional due to Americans' rights to freedom of religion. The only reason a parent would legally be treated unfavorably for religious reasons is if their faith motivated them to engage in behaviors that were clearly detrimental to a child's wellbeing, which the father claims is not the case between him and his children.

He plans on fighting for his rights as a father by leading a rally in Dec. and by appealing the court's ruling.

Source

USA Today: "Agnostic man claims religious bias cost him custody," 5 Dec. 2010

 

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