Ecclesiastical-abstention doctrine

A legal doctrine that Courts may not get into matters of religious doctrine when deciding cases. From a family law perspective, this case arose in Ball v. Ball, 250 Ariz. 273 (App.2020), a case in which the issue was whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was sufficiently “Christian” to satisfy the Parenting Plan’s requirement that the child be taken to a Christian church. The trial court determined it was not. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that under the ecclesiastical-abstention doctrine, the Court should not have engaged in this analysis.

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