Court: Custody ruling not based on mom’s Wicca religion

Court: Custody ruling not based on mom’s religion

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Chicot County judge did not base his decision granting custody of a 2-year-old boy to his father on the mother’s statements that she practiced Wicca, a sharply divided court of appeals ruled Wednesday.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld Judge Robert Vittitow’s ruling awarding custody of the boy to his father, Joshua Cook, and rejected Andrea Hicks’ claims that the decision was based on religious preference.

Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line tickets

Wiccans consider themselves witches, pagans or neo-pagans, and say their religion is based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Hicks testified in court that she only told Cook that she was Wiccan, but she is actually Baptist.

The appeals court ruled that Vittitow didn’t base his decision on Hicks’ religion.

Judge Robert J. Gladwin wrote that Vittitow was simply pointing out Hicks’ “lack of credibility on the issue” of her religion.

– Source: Court: Custody ruling not based on mom’s religion, AP via the Pine Bluff Commercial, Oct. 1, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

LITTLE ROCK – A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday.

In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs.

In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as “a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.”

The judge also wrote that while the mother testified she was only joking when she told the boy’s father that she was involved with Wicca, the “court believes she is much more involved than she would lead us to believe.”

In the appeals court ruling Wednesday, Judge Robert J. Gladwin wrote that religious beliefs and practices are material only as they affect children’s best interests, and in this case “no party explored connections between religious belief and upbringing.”

– Source: Court affirms custody case involving allegations of Wicca , Arkansas News Bureau, Oct. 2, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Travel Religiously

Book skip-the-line tickets to the worlds major religious sites — or to any other place in the world.

We appreciate your support

One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)

More About This Subject

Religion News Blog last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)