I live in a small town, and am going through a really nasty divorce that is primarily focused on the custody of our child. One of the reasons given to support my ex's leaving me with no warning is that I began questioning my religion. This was used to show in part that I am mentally unstable. It soon grew to just claiming I am an athiest (which I have not admitted to during this divorce process). While the lawyer brings it up repeatedly in paperwork, it hasn't yet ever be discussed in court by the judge. I understand that it's an attempt at mud-slinging, but I cannot believe in this day and age that any religious preference can even be brought up in official documents (and possibly in court yet) as a reason to keep a father from being with his child. Is this really legal? Shouldn't it be immediately erased off any documents? Any knowledge or personal experience to share would be welcome. Thanks!

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If you have enough money you can hire a statistician to come to court and testify that about 40% of Americans either do not go to church or consider themselves atheists, agnostics, or freethinkers.  If children are involved, there is the "best interest" test, which guides all lawsuits concerning children and their parents.  Religious issues are not uncommon, and when I read the case law I often make notes and save the cases as evidence that, as Hitchens put it, "Religion poisons everything."  I have seen parents claiming the other parent was unfit because, when the other parent had the children in their custody, they did not go to church; this was alleged to be something harmful to the children.  (In my opinion, it is definitely in the children's best interest to keep them out of church and bring them up with your own strong sense of justice and what is right.)  Doubt you can get the accusations deleted from the pleadings, but you might ask the judge to "seal the records."  Depends on the case.  I know you can do it in termination-adoption cases.




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