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Pater v. Pater
Ohio Supreme Court
588 N.E.2d 794 (1992)
Robert A. Pater (plaintiff) and Jennifer M. Pater (defendant) had one child together before their divorce. As part of the divorce proceeding, the trial court held a hearing on the issue of custody. Robert alleged that Jennifer, as a Jehovah’s Witness, would not allow their son to celebrate birthdays and holidays, participate in extracurricular activities, socialize with non-Witnesses, or pursue college. Robert, therefore, argued that the son would be socially ostracized if Jennifer was awarded custody. Robert also introduced two expert witnesses. The first expert witness testified that the prevalence of mental illness among Jehovah’s Witnesses was higher than the prevalence of mental illness among the general population. The second expert witness testified that a child’s participation in extracurricular activities is beneficial for socialization. Although Jennifer was the son’s primary caretaker and both parents were found competent, the trial court awarded custody to Robert. The trial court granted Jennifer visitation, but the visitation order prohibited Jennifer from exposing the son to any Jehovah’s Witness practices. The matter was appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wright, J.)
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