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Gay ex hasidic mother awarded custody of her children

by | Sep 13, 2017 | Custody & Visitation, Firm News, Same Sex Marriage

Ex-Hasidic mother from Brooklyn who lost custody of her three children for being gay wins them back in first-of-its-kind legal battle. Chavie Weisberger, who used to be Hasidic, was granted custody of her children after a long legal battle over her sexuality. In 2015 she lost custody because her ex-husband said that she wasn’t fulfilling a religious upbringing clause in their divorce. They were divorced in 2009 after she told him she was attracted to women. Now she has full custody of the three kids again after a years-long legal battle.

A former Hasidic mother temporarily lost custody of her children after coming out as gay, according to a court ruling.

Chavie Weisberger, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, lost custody of her three children and was barred from telling her youngest child about her sexuality after she and her ex-husband divorced in 2009.

The back-and-forth began that year when she told her then husband, Naftali Weisberger, that she was attracted to women and did not want to stay married.

In court it was first decided that she could not have custody of her children because she was not complying with an agreed-upon religious upbringing clause.

That first-of-its-kind ruling was struck down in August after years of legal wrangling between the two parents.

Chavie Weisberger (pictured left) lost custody of her three children (pictured together on the right) and was barred from telling her youngest child about her sexuality after she and her ex-husband divorced in 2009

The case ‘really shines a light on the tensions that exist between the secular world an an insular religious community,’ top divorce lawyer Michael Stutman told the New York Post on Tuesday. He was not involved in the legal proceedings.

At the time of the divorce Chavie was given temporary custody of her three children, who were two, three and five.

But in 2012 Naftali sued her for sole custody of her children on the ground that she’d violated an agreement to raise them in a strictly religious household.

He said she ‘radically changed her lifestyle’ by coming out as gay and living with a transgender man, according to court papers.

Naftali also argued that his ex-wife allowed the children to watch a Christmas movie, let them do an Easter egg hunt, gave them a book about having gay parents, came out to the oldest daughter, and the cut the son’s sidelocks, court documents show.

In 2015 a judge ruled that Chavie’s husband would get full custody because the mother, pictured, had violated a religious upbringing clause

In 2015, after three years of back-and-forth, Brooklyn Judge Eric Prus ruled that the mother violated the ex-couple’s ‘religious upbringing clause’ and gave the father sole legal and residential custody of their children.

The judge said the couple’s divorce agreement made it so he had to ‘consider the children’s religious upbringing as a paramount factor in any custody agreement.’

Prus said in his ruling that Chavie would have visitation limited to only supervised face-to-faces with her children and that she had to keep her sexuality hidden from the two youngest children.

‘During any period of visitation or during any appearance at the childrens’ schools, the mother must practice full religious observance in accordance with the Hasidic practices of ultra Orthodoxy,’ court papers say, according to the Post.

On August 16 Chavie, pictured right, appealed the ruling, and has now been granted full custody of her children again

On August 16 Chavie appealed the ruling, and has now been granted full custody of her children again.

The appeals court, which consisted of three judges, said Prus’ decision violated the mother’s rights and lacked any ‘sound substantial basis’.

‘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,’ court documents said.

But to keep with that clause Chavie must keep a Kosher home, and children with attend Hasidic schools and practice full religious observance wile with their father, according to the Post.

He is allowed weekend visitation and additional visits during Jewish holidays.