The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that judges may not discriminate against the religion of a parent during a child custody case, but they may consider how religiously motivated conduct can affect the child, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
The case at the heart of this debate involved a father who is Muslim and a mother who is a Jehovah’s Witness. The judge in the case was thrust in the middle of a battle between the balance of freedom of religion and what was deemed the best interest of the child.
According to the New York Times, child-custody battles involving religious issues are on the rise. This increase could be due to the fact that religion is historically a contentious issues, but there may be more behind it.
“Part of that is there has been an increase of conflicts between parents across the board, and with parents looking for reasons to justify their own actions,” a family lawyer in Kansas told the news source.
Many judges avoid taking on custody cases based solely on religious disputes, because they don’t feel comfortable ruling in favor of one religion or another, states the Times.