Judge Orders Father to Vacate the Premises Following the Disclosure of Late-Night Religious Rituals

Parents who are going through a divorce, or living under a custody order after their relationship has ended, must be cognizant of how their behavior might affect their parental rights. Even actions that a father or mother believes to be justified could have negative consequences when brought to the attention of a judge. This is particularly true in cases where a child suffers some type of harm or where a parent is speaking negatively about their ex. 

A decision from the Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County captioned T.H. vs. G.M., held that the safety of a child is paramount in custody determinations and that young people must be protected against all types of harm, not just physical abuse. In this case, a husband, wife and their 15-year-old son continued to live in their Freeport family home, despite the fact that the spouses were going through a divorce. The husband also spent a great deal of time at a residence in Rockville Centre. 

On numerous occasions, the wife alleged that her husband would return to the Freeport family home late at night and enter their son’s bedroom in order to pray with him and anoint him with oil. These intrusions frequently occurred after 11 p.m., and sometimes as late as 1 a.m. In response, the son put a lock on his bedroom door so he could sleep without being disturbed. A deacon in his church, the husband did not deny that he had performed this religious ritual with his son and even gave the words of the prayer he used. He claimed that this was for his son’s well-being and that his wife had taken part in this anointing over the years as well. 

The court did not pass judgment on the worth of the religious ritual, but said that the fact that the son put a lock on his door showed that it was harmful to his emotional well-being, and possibly to his performance in school. There was also question of parental alienation as the wife claimed her husband spoke with their son about the divorce. Citing the effects on his son, the judge ordered that the husband vacate the Freeport home permanently.  

In the decision, the judge affirmed that custody and visitation issues must be adjudicated from the youth’s point of view. Even when a parent sincerely believes that their words or actions are benefiting their child, they could wind up losing in court. 

If you’re concerned about the impact of your co-parent’s behavior on your child or have been accused of some sort of parental misconduct, don’t hesitate to speak with a professional. 

The Long Island attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. provide honest, effective counsel to parents dealing with custody issues during and after a divorce. To discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online

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