Using the December 2020 Arizona Court of Appeals decision in Ball v. Ball as a springboard, this seminar will provide an overview of the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine under the First Amendment and its role in restraining judicial intervention into doctrinal, religious disputes.
The Ball case involved a child custody dispute, in which Father converted to a new faith post-divorce and sought to instruct and otherwise involve the couple’s children in his new faith. Mother objected, relying on a provision in the parties’ parenting plan suggesting that the children would be instructed in the “Christian faith,” and arguing that Father’s new faith was not “Christian.” Following a hearing, the trial court ruled that Father’s faith “does not fall within the confines of the Christian faith” and accordingly found Father in violation of the parenting plan. In a published decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals vacated this ruling, based in part on ecclesiastical abstention.
The seminar will discuss the court’s analysis and the application of ecclesiastical abstention in related contexts where courts are called upon to resolve disputes involving religious underpinnings.
This program has been evaluated by the State Bar and will not provide partisan or political views.
David Garner, Osborn Maledon PA
|Religious Law Program Manual (Dec. 2, 2021).pdf (2 MB)||66 Pages||Available after Purchase|