ESPOSITO v. ESPOSITO was a 1963 New Jersey Supreme
Court decision. Limited details. Famous WatchTower
attorney, and onetime WatchTower Vice President, Hayden
C. Covington co-represented Mary Esposito.
Dominick Esposito and Mary Esposito were married in 1953.
Dominick Esposito was a nominal Catholic, and Mary
Esposito was an occasionally observant Protestant. In
September 1960, Mary Esposito joined the Jehovah's
Witnesses. Thereafter, serious marital discord arose turning
mostly on Dominick Esposito's objections to his wife's new
religious affiliation, and her training of their infant son as a
Jehovah's Witness. The son was born in 1956, and had been
baptized in the husband's Catholic Church. At some
unidentified point in 1961, the couple divorced, although
they both continued to live in the same apartment. In
October 1961, Dominick Esposito petitioned for sole
custody of the child. In October 1962, an order of joint
custody was entered.
On November 16, 1962, Dominick Esposito filed an appeal.
On November 20, 1962, a further order was entered which
provided that the child was to spend each weekday
evening with his father, and all day Saturday. It provided
further that "on Sunday the child may attend church
services with his father, if the child so desires."
Mary Esposito appealed the both orders, and particularly
had a problem with the provision allowing the father to take
the son to Catholic Church on Sunday. Covington evidently
advised Mary Esposito to move out of the apartment she
shared with her former husband, and to pursue sole
custody, which would give her the authority to control the
son's religious upbringing. The appellate decision
essentially put things on hold pending future legalities.
Jehovah's Witnesses Lose in Court-Often....