Catholic couple ordered to live Hasidic lifestyle in order to be able to see husband's son, who was born to ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother
It has been centuries since the divide between church and state has been in place but recently it seems that religion has been taking center stage in divorce courts across the United States. This time, the state has ruled that ultra-Orthodox Judaism must be followed by a pair of Catholics.
Laura Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic woman, has been placed under court order to keep Shabbat, keep kosher and live as a Hasidic Jew. This court order was carried out in Chicago and the woman is now being told she must live an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle due to her new husband’s ex-wife who is a Hasidic Jew.
Derbigney’s husband Nelson, also a Catholic, has a son by his first wife, a seven-year old who must carry out ultra-Orthodox restrictions with his Catholic father as he has with his biological mother, and this is the reasoning behind the court’s order to have the boy’s father and new step-mother live in the ways of a Hasidic Jew.
These restrictions include dietary restrictions. Despite Derbigney reportedly liking to cook Hispanic foods from her childhood, she will not be able to feed the child pork. Furthermore, the court has ordered that she is not allowed to shop at her regular supermarket and must shop from a kosher supermarket, henceforth – a supermarket, according to her interview with NBC, that is located in a different neighborhood far from her home.
Along with this, she will definitely not be able to take the boy from her new husband’s first marriage in a car on Saturdays, and for the same reason no sports will be played, no electronics will be used, as she has to follow all the laws of Shabbat.
The court order was enacted under the demands of the Hasidic Jewish ex-wife who complained to court that the last time her son visited his father he was fed non-kosher hot dogs.
Attorney Joel Brodsky, who is defending the Derbigneys and has won a similar case where religion proved to be the main concern in a custody battle, told NBC that the court’s ruling ignores the First Amendment which describes a citizen’s right to live by their own religious beliefs. Brodsky said, “Just because you're divorced, the court can't say how to live your lives or what grocery store you can go to."
Brodsky’s similar case that he won in mid February of this year coincidentally involves a Jewish ex-wife and a Hispanic Catholic father. The father, by the name of Joseph Reyes, converted to Judaism when he married his ex-wife Rebecca Reyes and returned to Catholicism when they divorced. Later, he brought their daughter Ela to a church and was afterwards sued, facing prison and fines for the church visit due to allegations that the pair decided to raise the daughter Jewish; though the father denies this.