Religious Differences Fuel Custody Battles

April 18, 2010

Author: Lisa Donovan

Source: Chicago Sun-Times



Their divorce was settled three years ago, but there they were Friday, back in Cook County Domestic Relations Court, this time fighting over a contentious religious issue:

Could a devout Jewish mother force her ex-husband, who isn't Jewish, to feed their 7-year-old son kosher food when he has the boy?

And couldn't the judge please also make Nelson Derbigny, a 52-year-old North Sider, allow the boy to wear his yarmulke to his public grade school?

With interfaith marriages on the rise, child-custody battles centering on religion are likely to become increasingly common, experts say.

Just a few days earlier, in the same downtown Chicago courthouse where Derbigny was summoned by his ex-wife Elina Margolina, a high-profile fight over whether a child could be raised Jewish but also exposed to her father's Catholic faith had thrown a national spotlight on such interfaith battles.