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Father upset mother violated plan on religious upbringing

In Missouri, when two parents go through a divorce, part of the process requires them to submit a parenting plan to the court. This parenting plan is intended to create a stable environment and includes specific information regarding how the children will be raised.

However, one father is pretty upset right now, as he claims that his ex-wife went against the couple's parenting plan, which stated that any decisions regarding the religious upbringing of the children would be made jointly. For violating the parenting plan, the father asked for his ex-wife to be criminally convicted of contempt for violating the court order the two had previously created.

When looking at this case, both of the parents are Christian, with the father being a member of the United Methodist Church and the mother identifying as a Presbyterian. When trying to decide on the religious upbringing of the children, the father was of the belief that the children -- who are almost 5 and 7 years old -- should not be baptized until they are older and have acquired more of an understanding of just how important the ceremony is.

When trying to reach an agreement, the issue regarding religion and baptism was also clearly something of great importance to both of the parents as they had talked with a minister when they were still together regarding what the appropriate age for baptism is.

However, even though the couple had agreed to consult each other when it came to religious upbringing, it turns out that the wife went ahead and had the children baptized without first talking about the decision with the father.

A lower court already ruled in favor of the father, claiming that the mother was in contempt of court for not following their parenting plan agreement. The court of appeals also sided with the father agreeing that the mother had violated the court order and could therefore be found to be in contempt of court.

If she is found guilty, she could spend up to 20 days in jail and be fined $100. As of now, it's unknown if she will appeal to the state's Supreme Court.

Source: The Associated Press, "Tennessee mom faces jail for baptizing her two children without husband's consent," April 1, 2012

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