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Mom Loses Custody Of Kids After Violating 'Religious Clause' In Divorce

A woman has finally come out on top of a years-long legal battle for her kids.

An ex-Hasidic woman from Brooklyn, New York lost custody of her three children when her ex-husband argued that her sexuality interfered with a clause in their divorce agreement. In the agreement, the mother was supposed to provide her children with a religious upbringing and hide her sexuality from the youngest child. After a long legal battle, she lost the children in 2015 for violating the clause. Now, she's got her children back.

Chavie Weisberger told her husband that she was a lesbian back in 2009, and the two were divorced soon after. Both parents were Jewish at the time of the divorce, and the divorce agreement stated that the children's religious upbringing would be paramount in any custody agreement. Weisberger was given custody of the child.

The parents practiced Hasidic Judaism, an extremely conservative sect of Orthodox Judaism. Hasidic are a subculture within Judaism and have very strict rules in just about every aspect of life. Homosexuality is not generally considered an approved lifestyle.

As per the divorce agreement, Weisberger was supposed to not only provide the children with a religious foundation, but was also supposed to hide her sexuality from them. But as time went on, she began to change her lifestyle.

The mother 'came out' as a member of the LGBTQ community and was living with a transgendered man. She allowed the children to participate in Christian holiday activities, such as Christmas and Easter. She gave the children a book about having gay parents and told her eldest daughter that she was a lesbian. She allowed her son to cut his side locks, the hair at his temples, something that Hasidic Jews are forbidden from doing.

In 2012, Chavie's ex-husband, Naftali Weisberger, sued the mother for custody. The battle dragged on for three years, and in 2015, the father was granted custody of the children. Chavie was granted limited supervised visitations, and was required to keep her sexuality a secret from the youngest two children.

"During any period of visitation or during any appearance at the children’s' schools, the mother must practice full religious observance in accordance with the Hasidic practices of ultra Orthodoxy," read the court papers.

Chavie went on to fight, and her appeal was successful. The appeals court judge overturned the 2015 decision, claiming that it violated the mother's civil rights. "A religious upbringing clause should not, and cannot, be enforced to the extent that it violates a parent's legitimate due-process right to express oneself freely," the judge wrote.

Chavie is required to keep her children in their Hasidic Jewish schools and keep a kosher home. She's also required to allow the father to practice religious observances with the children. He gets weekend visitation, as well as Jewish holy days.

The mother, however, is now free to pursue her life, and is no longer required to hide her sexuality or beliefs from the kids.

According to divorce lawyer divorce lawyer Michael Stutman, the case has called into question the validity of religious clauses. He tells the New York Post that it 'really shines a light on the tensions that exist between the secular world and an insular religious community'.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Facebook, MailOnline

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