WILSON v. WILSON was a 1999 Indiana appellate court
decision.  Larry Wilson and Julie Wilson's marriage was
dissolved in 1993.  Although he was "inactive" at that point
in time, because of Larry Wilson's prior association with the
Jehovah's Witnesses, Julie Wilson insisted that the
dissolution decree specifically incorporate the agreement
that "the Wife shall have physical custody of said minor
child and shall have the right to make the normal religious
and medical decisions of a custodial parent and the
Husband shall have the right of visitation."  In 1998, Julie
Wilson filed for sole custody due to the fact that Larry
Wilson was ignoring her wishes that he not take their son to
the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.  The trial court
proceeded to throw out the dissolution provision which
granted Julie Wilson the right to make the religious
decisions regarding the child.  Such was reinstated by this
appellate court, stating:

"It is well-settled that divorcing spouses have more
flexibility in crafting their own property settlement
agreements than do divorce courts.  ... Parties may agree to
provisions which a trial court could not order. ... A property
settlement agreement which is merged and incorporated
into a divorce decree is a binding contract. ... A trial court
should not interfere with a property settlement agreement
provision for child custody and support unless the
agreement, even where less than ideal, is clearly against
the best interests of the child. ...

"Here, our review of the record reveals that, at the time of
the dissolution, Julie anticipated conflict with Larry over
Wesley's religious training because of Larry's previous
involvement in the Jehovah's Witnesses. Because of her
concern, Julie had some reservations about a joint custody
arrangement.  Therefore, she requested a provision in the
property settlement agreement giving her the authority to
determine the religious decisions as to Wesley. There is no
evidence that Larry objected to the custodial provision
providing Julie with the right to make the normal religious
and medical decisions for the minor child. As a result, this
provision was incorporated into the parties' final dissolution
decree.

"Against the wishes of the mother, Larry subsequently
began taking Wesley to Jehovah's Witnesses meetings and
on door to door solicitations. The evidence is unrefuted that
after attending such meetings, Wesley became very critical
of his mother. Wesley also demonstrated confusion and
distress about religion. Specifically, Julie's counsel
explained as follows: "The child comes home saying things
like, church is bad, and when mother tries to tell him that's
not appropriate, that church is not a bad thing, he argues
and appears to be very confused about these things." ...
Wesley has also been having problems at school. Julie
expressed her concerns to Larry, reminded him about the
provision in their settlement agreement and asked him not
to take their son to Jehovah's Witnesses meetings. Larry
responded that the provision "didn't mean anything."
The trial court also granted Larry Wilson permission to
provide child care while Julie Wilson was at work.  Julie
Wilson objected due to Larry Wilson's physical condition.  
Her attorney indicated that Larry Wilson was receiving
fulltime disabilty benefits due to heart surgery more than 10
years ago.  This appellate court affirmed the lower court's
decision noting that Larry Wilson's health was such that he
had recently helped construct a new Kingdom Hall of
Jehovah's Witnesses in Lafayette.
Jehovah's Witnesses Lose in Court-Often....