Ex parte Snider

929 So. 2d 447 (2005)

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Ex parte Snider

Alabama Supreme Court
929 So. 2d 447 (2005)

Facts

Laura Snider (plaintiff) and William Mashburn (defendant) divorced when their child was an infant, and Laura was given custody of the child. Laura married Brian Snider and began working with him in supporting a Christian mission. Brian, Laura, and the child moved from Alabama to rural Indiana to be closer to the mission. William petitioned for a modification of custody when the child was about five years old. At trial, the court found that Brian isolated and controlled Laura and, by extension, the child; Brian alienated all other family members; Brian lost control of himself and hit and whipped the child and Laura did not stop him; the move to Indiana tore the child from her large, supportive family, including William, and did not benefit the child at all; Brian and Laura required draconian measures to ensure the child’s modesty; and life with Brian greatly changed the child’s personality and behavior for the worse. Laura’s evidence against William established that he did not enforce Laura’s modesty requirements during his parenting time and he drank beer. The trial court granted temporary custody to William, found that the child became happy and well-adjusted in his home, and then granted permanent custody to William. The trial court’s order stated that Laura could provide religious training to the child only by example and prohibited Laura from criticizing or disparaging William’s religious beliefs or household. Laura appealed, arguing that the court’s restriction on her religious instruction of her child violated her constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lyons, J.)

Dissent (Parker, J.)

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