Friday, June 12, 2015

International Travel Limits In Custody Order Did Not Violate Rastafarian Parent's Rights

In In re the Paternity of Y.K.S., (WI Ct. App., June 11, 2015), a Wisconsin appeals court upheld a provision in a joint custody order barring Jesse Schwork from traveling internationally with his son to any country that is not a signatory to the Hague Abduction Convention.  Schwork, a practicing Rastafarian, argued that this would prevent him from taking his son to religiously significant sites.  The court rejected his argument, saying in part:
Schworck’s argument that the circuit court should have granted him a hearing and that it was required to apply strict scrutiny in crafting the travel restriction is premised on his assertion that the travel restriction infringes on his right to provide religious instruction to Y.S. We see no such infringement because the travel restriction does not prohibit Schworck from raising Y.S. in the Rastafarian faith....
Assuming, without deciding, that travel to Kenya and Ethiopia would be beneficial to raising Y.S. in the Rastafarian faith, we reject the proposition that the circuit court was required to hold a hearing to determine whether the travel restriction infringed on Schworck’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of his religion. Both the United States Supreme Court and our supreme court ... have recognized that the First Amendment does not protect an individual’s right to act in conformity with his or her religion in all circumstances.