Agreement That Children “Shall Be Raised in the Orthodox Jewish Tradition” Is Unenforceable
In Connecticut Superior Court Judge Eddie Rodriguez’s opinion in Breiner v. Breiner (handed down Sept. 15 but just posted on Westlaw), the dispute was about whether plaintiff mother had breached an agreed-to provision in a 2017 parenting plan, “The parties agree the children shall be raised in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, and shall support those values with the children.” Defendant father argued,
Mother has put the children in an untenable position where the development of their Jewish identity has been seriously compromised, undermining father’s efforts to maintain an Orthodox Jewish home that is observant of the Orthodox Jewish tradition, and mother’s conduct has resulted in a substantial change in circumstances that supports reconsideration of the amount of time mother enjoys with parental access to the children.
For example, mother has invited a non-Jewish male companion to live with her in the family home since March, 2020. Upon information and belief, the couple are in a dating relationship and he shares the parties’ former marital bedroom with the plaintiff. Under any Orthodox tenet, this choice is the antithesis of supporting traditional Orthodox [Jewish] values. Further, mother is not observant of the Jewish holidays in Orthodox tradition and does not follow or support the traditions (and Jewish law) associated with the values in which the children were raised during the marriage.”
Mother argued that “she has continued to raise the minor children in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, but that the defendant’s attitude has been rigid and fails to recognize that the children [age 15 and 13] have established their own religious identities. Fu
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