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January 31, 2011
Custody Dispute to be Decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court
A custody dispute involving religion and homeschooling, which has received national attention, will shortly be decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The Voydatch case concerns a Christian mother and her daughter who wish to continue homeschooling. Regrettably, the father wants the child in public school and a court sided with the father, ordering the mother to send the child to public school.
Typically, HSLDA does not become involved with custody disputes because both parents have rights, but in this case the court rendered its decision on the basis that homeschooling was inherently inferior to public school.
This is not true, which is why HSLDA filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the New Hampshire Supreme Court in support of homeschooling. It was necessary to show that homeschooling is in fact a mainstream education alternative and should be treated equally with other methods of education.
While Alliance Defense Fund Attorney John Anthony Simmons is representing Mrs. Voydatch, HSLDA has been consulting with the ADF and its attorneys to ensure that the liberty of all homeschoolers is protected.
Because this case arose out of a custody dispute, the results will likely be constrained to its specific facts. At present HSLDA does not perceive that the decision will create negative precedent that will affect all homeschoolers.