The separation between church and state exists in the United States as a basic tenet of our governmental system. In theory, it may be relatively straightforward to distinguish between the realm of the legal system and the realm of the religious institutions and leaders. However many of our clients come to us with ingrained beliefs, practices, or expectations that have their origins in religious teachings. In fact, for some, their religious identity may shape and define them as people. It is all well and good to say that the family law system is a secular arena, but we do our clients a disservice if there is no effort to recognize and understand the ways in which their approaches to their own families and cases may be affected by faith issues. The reality is that many litigants do not or cannot set aside their religious beliefs or customs when they become involved in a family law matter.
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