Divorce and Religion

Katie Holmes has filed for divorce from Tom Cruise in the state of New York.  Given her possible issues with the religion of Scientology, Retired Superior Court Judge in California, Eugene Hyman believes she will receive more favorable treatment by a New York Court.  So, how does religion play a part in divorce?

Judge Hyman says that religion in a divorce case comes up very infrequently but when it does, courts try to stay out of it because of the concerns with respect to the First Ammendment and a person's right to practice religion, and scientology is a religion.   If one parent feels strongly that a particular religion is not in the best interest of the child, the religion is not in of itself a determining factor.  The question is is how it's practiced and what is in the best interest of the child when talking about the religion and if it's being practiced in a way that's detrimental to a child.

In the case of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, there are two other children, from his previous marriage involved and one might wonder if that would have an impact on any decision a judge would make.  Judge Hyman says that if he were the judge on this case, he would want to know how the other two children were doing and if there was any odd behavior.  He would want to know what Katie Holmes observed during times spent with the other two children in terms of religious practice.  He would also want to obtain information from a psychologist and see if there were any detrimental effects if the child was exposed to the religion.

Judge Hyman adds that in the state of California, religious promises made in a pre-nup are not binding because of the best interest of the child standard and that standard is viewed at the time this is brought before in a court.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows.  For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com.  He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.

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