In the melting pot of American culture, interfaith marriage has become more common in recent decades. While many couples find happiness and a unique outlook on spirituality in these mixed religion marriages, other interfaith relationships end in divorce (just like other marriages) either because of religious differences or for other more ordinary reasons.
Whether or not your interfaith marriage is ending because of religious and spiritual conflicts, or whether your relationship simply didn’t work out, you may face several unique issues when navigating your interfaith divorce:
- Spiritual custody or religious custody disputes. How will the fact that you and your spouse are no longer together going to affect the religious upbringing of your child? Should your child continue on his or her spiritual path as the two of you had decided while together? Should you have to discuss spiritual and cultural activities with your ex before involving your child? Can you stop your child from being exposed to your ex’s religious beliefs or traditions? If you cannot resolve these issues privately, a judge can help you determine what is in the best interests of your child.
- The need for a religious divorce. Depending on the religion of you or your spouse, and depending on your spiritual wants and needs, you may need to seek a religious divorce in addition to a legal divorce. For example, if you or your spouse is Jewish, you may wish to seek a Get – a divorce proceeding overseen by a rabbi. If you or your spouse is Catholic, you may wish to seek a Church Annulment so that the Catholic spouse has the option of remarrying in the church.
- The need to reexamine your religious beliefs. Many people convert to their spouse’s religion out of love or for their children. When a divorce takes place, you have the option of continuing to participate in your spouse’s religion, return to your original religion, or take a whole new spiritual (or non-spiritual) path. These can be extremely tough questions, especially during such a tumultuous time in your life.
- Changes to your religious and cultural traditions. Just as letting go of your spouse can be difficult (even though you know it is the right decision), letting go of certain rituals and traditions can be difficult, especially if children are involved. Be sure to explain to your children why some holidays and traditions are no longer celebrated at your house (or celebrated in a different way) and consider adding new traditions to your family to signify the new chapter in your life.
As you can see, an interfaith divorce comes with special challenges and considerations. If you need legal assistance with your Washington State divorce, call Seattle divorce attorney Molly Kenny today.