Divorce and Baptism

Even Holy Water Is Not Safe From The Long Arm Of Family Court

Divorce_BaptismA magistrate decided the girl could not yet be baptised, determining she should make up her own mind about her religion when she was older. He determined that the girl should make up her mind about being baptised when she was older.

In a judgment published this week, the Family Court dismissed an appeal from the mother against the ruling. It ruled against overturning orders preventing her from changing her daughter’s surname to a hyphenated name and provided for the girl to spend alternate Christmases with her dad.

Family Court Justice Stephen Thackery ordered the mother pay the father’s costs because of the minor nature of the issues and her lack of success. “A party who chooses to agitate minor matters on appeal runs the risk they will be required to meet the costs they have forced the other party to incur,” he said.

The woman told the Family Court the magistrate had erred in law in making his decision that the child could not yet be baptised. She said this was because the girl was attending a Christian school, was a practising Christian and had placed importance in the Christian faith. Justice Thackery said the mum failed to demonstrate the magistrate’s decision was clearly wrong.

The magistrate who originally heard the case said the little girl had been asking about baptism and the mother believed it would help her fit in atschool if she were baptised. “In my view, it is not necessary for (her) to be baptised in order to ‘fit in’,” the magistrate had ruled.

He said the father was not religious and believed a decision about baptism should be left until the girl was older so that she could have proper input. “His concern is about baptising her into a particular faith before she is able to decide for herself what religion she wishes to be part of,” the magistrate said. “I consider that is it not necessary for (the child) to be baptised at this early stage.

Given the conflict between the parents on this issue, and given her tender age, this process can be safely left to a later date.”

This article was published by the daily telegraph on December 24 2011

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