Religion and best interests of the child
Matters that end up before the court are generally matters where parties are unable to reach agreement about what is in a child’s best interest. Whether that be the time arrangements, what school they attend, where they live or what religion they practice… Let’s look at a recent case on religion.
The Family Court recently needed to consider this last issue in relation to a 3 year old child. Sadly, the matter was urgent as the mother had been diagnosed with terminal illness and had a short life expectancy. The parties had managed to reach agreement in relation to the ongoing parenting arrangements, however they had different views about religion.
Core of the case
Both parties practiced the Hindu faith. However the mother did not agree with the father’s more actively involved Hindu practice. This included travelling to Indian ashrams and other practices. The mother sought orders that restrained the father from involving the child in the religion and from travelling to India until the child was 14 years of age.
The court commented that it was not the place of the court to analyse any particular faith, or to assume any particular belief, it was only the court’s place to consider religion and whether practicing that religion posed any risk to a child.
In this case, the court did not make the restrictive orders sought by the mother. The court found that the father was an appropriate parent and would not put the child as risk. In circumstances where the parties had otherwise agreed on parenting orders, which provided for the child to continue to have relationships with the maternal and paternal grandparents, the court determined the child would be exposed to differing views of religion. These views would assist her to understand that people can have different views.
If you’re seeking advice regarding the best interests of your child, call our Brisbane office today. Alternatively, fill in our online form here to request an appointment. We offer a no obligation, fixed-cost appointment with an experienced family lawyer.