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Dad Sues Mom for Excluding Him from Important Decision

Dad Sues Mom for Excluding Him from Important Decision

Have you ever disagreed with your partner over an important aspect of raising your kids? A disagreement between a divorced couple in Tennessee has become so contentious that it could even go to the Tennessee Supreme Court!

The parenting issue that started the legal battle between Lauren Jarrell and Emmett Blake Jarrell is the age of baptism. The Associated Press reports that Lauren Jarrell went ahead and had the couple's two children, ages 5 and 7, baptized even though she knew that their father wanted to wait until they were older "and better able to understand the significance of the baptismal ceremony."

A state court has found this mom in contempt for violating an order that she work out major questions of the children's religious upbringing with her ex-husband. She now faces the possibility of jail time for acting without the father's consent.


Read the whole story (NY Daily News)

Do you and your partner agree on your children's religious or spiritual upbringing?

Image Source: Silvia Jansen/Getty Images/Vetta via AP/NY Daily News

Join The Conversation
JamieShermeyer JamieShermeyer 5 years
I go to a baptist church and we do not believe in baptism until the individual is able to make the decision on their own. We do believe in dedicating the babies babies at a young age. Each religion is different but waiting to baptise should not be an issue. I think its better to wait and let the individual understand what is means instead of just forcing it on them. It was a decision they should have made together and he has every right to sue. She was selfish and inconsiderate and only cared about what she wanted. His feelings didn't even matter. I will be praying for this family
ChristinaF20462 ChristinaF20462 5 years
TeBeth Crowe, this would not be Catholic. Catholics Baptize or Christen their children as babies and do Confirmation when they are High School age. Confirmation is a re-affirmation of Baptism with the children then making the choice as obviously they did not make the choice as infants. There are no age limits for either one. Now the issue of jailing someone for performing a harmless religious ceremony, that is silly. There should be a consequence for breaking a court order, but really jail time...
TeBethCrowe TeBethCrowe 5 years
You've got to be kidding me. What she did was harmless. It's isn't going to harm them in any way. He has got to be catholic. No offense, but they are the only religion I know of, where you have to be of a certain age to get baptized. He (the dad) really needs to relax. How do you think his kids will feel later on down the road knowing that he sent their mother to jail over such a silly thing. Honestly, read the bible. No where does it say you can ONLY be baptized ONCE. People rededicated their lives to Christ everyday and get re-baptized. He needs to diffuse the bomb he's about to set off before his children resent him for it when they are older!!
JeannieBoen JeannieBoen 5 years
I don't see the problem here. The children can request to be baptized a second time when they are older in their father's church. Jailtime for something like this would be absolutely silly. Both parents should just focus on their kids and not seeking retribution from their child's other parent.
TinaDeLuca95701 TinaDeLuca95701 5 years
luv this! excellent job - this should definitely be an issue to be reported
KathrynWatkins KathrynWatkins 5 years
So I was baptized as a baby- it's really more a christening, it's just a promise that I would be raised knowing about God. I did the same for my two kids, but my hubby didn't participate since he is not religious. When I was 27, I converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I still take my girls to a methodist church and will raise them with an open mind so they may choose their own religious path when they want to. This should not be decided upon inside a court room. The father may be upset, but he's not the one who made the promise, she is. He is still their father and when he is with them, he can nurture their religious ideas as he wishes, as their mother will nurture them as she wants.
BirungiJustinejuss BirungiJustinejuss 5 years
Its just absurd.Hope she wont be going to jail.Its important that children decide on their faith en get babtized there after.However, it doesnt matter because they can always choose to get baptized again.I personally I got baptized again.This man just wants to stress the poor lady.
CoMMember13631179371101 CoMMember13631179371101 5 years
I see the father's point, but if he allows the children's mother to go to jail over something like this, he better start saving for their counseling somewhere down the line.
MaryMills92138 MaryMills92138 5 years
It is unfortunate that the parents could not get along well enough to discuss this. I totally agree with the dad that the children should have understanding about baptism and communion. Mary Sivels Omaha Ne
JanineHughey JanineHughey 5 years
Americans are giving too much power to the courts by bringing their personal difference to them. Now the courts will be making a law about this? What happened to separation of church and state. I say grow up and deal with it yourself! This doesn't belong in the court system.
MelanieCusumano MelanieCusumano 5 years
WOW! Psycho! I kinda did the same thing (I allowed my daughter to have a baby naming while I was with my family in temple for Rosh Hashana without first consenting with my husband), but he would never go to such extremes. He was furious with me and will never let me forget it, though. And I'm sure he will try to use it against me in future arguments. But putting the mother of your children in JAIL?!? The baptism won't have any real effect on them, they may not even remember it when they're older, but having their father get their mother tossed in jail will definitely mess them up.
RomaineForeman RomaineForeman 5 years
This is one of the most stupid things that I have heard. First of all, this dumb agreement between the mother and father should have never been drawn up. Second, this sounds like a power play on the fathers part. (controlling) If he is supposed to be so christian, then why would he want the mother to go to jail? Here's what to do, Baptize the children when they get older. The one thing for sure is the children will make up their own mind about it anyway. Also. I think jail is over kill. Take away a visiting day from her and call it done. I do see her point. She wants her kids covered under the Blood NOW.
FedericaMaggio FedericaMaggio 5 years
She should have gotten his approval. I think jail is a bit extreme, but she should surgery be fined. I did not have my child baptized and for sure would have felt betrayed if my husband had done it without my consent.
AngieMacFarland AngieMacFarland 5 years
To me it just seems like a power struggle. Neither can agree and the children are suffering because of it. Yes she should have gotten his approval or at least met with who they are suppose to and go from there. Again though who is really hurting the mother, no the children. That's a sad thing. The mother did what she felt was right by baptizing her children. It's not like she let them get tattooed or piercings. Let him have something at his church as well when the kids are older if he would like. There are more important things in life to fight about.
AndreaSmith99284 AndreaSmith99284 5 years
My son made a profession of faith at 6. While I agree this is young, he made this decision on his own and understands what it means. He was baptised a month ago at age 7. Maybe these children understand also. Both parents need to become more mature and learn to communicate. We should not need the courts to make these decisions for us - married or divorced. As for the immature comment regarding fairy ceremonies and Santa/Easter Bunny - I think I'll pray for you - that you will learn to be tolerant of other people's beliefs and simply refrain from commenting on matters that obviously don't pertain to you. And, by the way, it is a life-altering decision. And to those who think the father is right to sue, I can only say I find that incredibly sad. She baptized her kids...not neglect, not abuse. What a criminal!
LisaSeatle LisaSeatle 5 years
The bigger issue here is who has a relationship with children and openly defies each other? And then instead of working through the problem end up in court? The judge should have sentenced them both to separate and marital counseling.
TerralynPolege TerralynPolege 5 years
It amazes me that people who claim to be christians will sue each other over a baptism. If he thinks they should be baptized when they are older he can just do it again then. regardless of the fact that they are divorced it sure makes a mockery of their so called religious beliefs for one of them to be sueing the other. What kind of testimony is that to the outside world?
CoMMember13630456503806 CoMMember13630456503806 5 years
How stupid and petty, just baptize them again when they're older. There's no reason why they can't have that experience with each parent; they probably go to different churches anyway. What if neither parent were to ever agree as to what age their children should be baptized; who makes the final decision? How ridiculous; now they can take the mother away from the children by having the father sue her, show the children complete discord between the parents that they both need and love, and traumatize the kids for life. That's a brilliant solution; no wonder people kill in the name of religion! So much for the love of God....
JessicaSalamon JessicaSalamon 5 years
Saying that parents get equal say in the religious upbringing of their child is in the standard parenting plan for my state. It is entirely possible that they never discussed this at all and he was just looking for a reason. It does seem to me that this is less about religion and more about two bitter people using their children to get back at each other.
MichelleGardner36882 MichelleGardner36882 5 years
I would be ticked over a broken court order as well, just like the father is and I believe that he has every right to enforce what they agreed to and both legally signed. It sounds to me like he wants to make sure his children can fully understand what a huge religious step his children are taking when they make the decision to be baptized. But we don't know the whole story, maybe she spends more time with the children and knows a little more about what they truly understand. Maybe she tried to discuss this with him and he didn't want to listen or talk to the children to see what they understand. I personally believe that baptism of anyone should be that person's decision and not up to either parent. Salvation is something that one has to believe in, admit to, and want to do. My personal belief is that we are not truly saved until we can fully understand what it means to ask Jesus into our hearts and confess/repent of our sins and short comings and publicly state that we know Jesus is Lord and Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins and rose on the 3rd day . Baptism is representation of a person dieing to themselves and rising in Christ that should only follow a public profession of faith.. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but I believe that our parents cannot save us and get us into heaven by having us baptized. It is a choice that every individual has to make on their own. I also do not believe that there is any certain "age of accountability" because not everyone matures at the same rate (and there are many who never reach the mental capabilities of any age past toddlers. I believe God has a special plan for all who leave this world before reaching the point of knowing right from wrong and includes them all in heaven.
TiffanyLynn93859 TiffanyLynn93859 5 years
Religion is something the court needs to stay out of there is seperation of church and state for a reason. There are plenty of parents in violation for not paying child support and the court does nothing. The baptism of the children should have been discussed before they had children not when they were going through a divorce.
JimellaProphet JimellaProphet 5 years
I wish for the sake of protecting our freedom of religion, that they would have discussed this between themselves. My opinion of when a child should be baptised doesn't matter, I am glad that they both agree that they want their children to be baptised. I pray they work this out before it gets to the point of going before a judge someone that even if in their heart they care about the matter they are required to judge by the law of Man not God and I dont' want to know what the outcome could be for a Mother that just wanted to know that her children were baptised or for the father that wanted to know that his children understood what being baptised means. God Bless the children that are in this situation, they have parents that care. I am a single parent and I don't have these battles ( No Father in the Picture) but God Bless them for wanting this for their children.
JinnieLettkeman JinnieLettkeman 5 years
Really? Jail time for baptism? She should just abuse them or something. She would probably be able to avoid jail time then.
SherlinChee SherlinChee 5 years
Seriously, i am sure the mom did it for her love of her children and i am sure God teaches u to love and forgive all sins... So can the husband show some love for the wife same ad the day they once vowed to do so on their wedding day? Love overrides all barriers and disagreementand to take a love one to court means the love could have diminished somehow! So the father could have some personal issues with the mom and make use of that situation to fight it out...?
JacquiGraham JacquiGraham 5 years
The mother should have respected the father's wishes. No harm would have come from waiting, and much good would have come from the parents agreeing for the sake of their children. Five of our six children were baptized as infants, but by the time #6 came along we were attending a church that practised infant "dedication". When she was 10, she chose to be baptized. Spiritually speaking, all six seem to be doing fine!
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