Leaving any marriage is a fraught experience, but the process of leaving a strict religious marriage and community poses unique challenges. In some cases the religious community mobilizes against the parent who leaves, and even close family members may turn against that parent. Divorce becomes more isolating for these parents than the experience normally is, as they lose their family and former community in the process.
The newly divorced parent is thrust into single parenthood alone, with little support, all the while struggling to earn a livelihood, make court appearances, and provide for the children. Sometimes, this experience is compounded by an up-hill custody battle in a court that favors preserving the religious status quo.
In numerous cases the religious parent and religious community have organized to deny the ex-religious parent custody and to alienate the children from the ex-religious parent. In so doing they ignore the sacredness of the parent-child bond and the severe toll this alienation takes on both parent and children, as well as the documented evidence of children’s resilience in the face of changing circumstances.
Children can adapt to their parents’ divorce.
Children can adapt to a parent’s change of lifestyle.
But children can never reclaim the lost years and loss of relationship that result from parental alienation.
Right to Parent aims to support and advocate for parents suffering from the destructive overreach of strict religious communities.