Abney & Paris 2013 FMCAfam 7

A mother was raised as Christian by her parents who had worked as missionaries.  The mother converted to Islam and met a partner who considered her to be a devout Muslim.  The couple married and had two children aged 5 and 4 years at the time of the hearing.  The mother later reverted back to the Christian faith (religious belief).

The couple separated following disputes about a range of parenting matters.  The father considered that the mother had been a good parent until she became preoccupied with a computer and disregarded her parenting responsibilities.  The father criticized the mother for screaming at the children as it was her role to care for the children, although the father acknowledged that he had also screamed at the children as he justified his screaming as part of his role to correct and to discipline the children.

The judge found that the father was overbearing towards the children (parenting style authoritarian).

The father had older children from a previous relationship and had allowed a 14 year old to take responsibility for younger children, including taking younger children to the doctor when both parents were unavailable (child’s responsibilities).  The judge accepted a 14 year old providing some care for a younger sibling (sibling relationship).

The judge ordered that the children live with the father and spend time with the mother, and for the father to have sole parental responsibility.  The judge restrained the mother from seeking to impart religious instruction to the children except in the Muslim faith, and restrained both parents from making criticisms to the children about the religion of the other parent.