Chavie and Naftali Weisberger divorced in 2009. The pair has three children together, whom they planned to raise within the Hasidic Jewish religion.
According to the Daily Mail, the Brooklyn, New York mom divorced Naftali after coming out as a gay — which is not accepted within their religion. At that time, Chavie was granted temporary custody of their young children.
Three years later, in 2012, Naftali filed for sole custody. He used Chavie’s sexuality against her and claimed that she “violated an agreement to raise their kids in a strictly religious household.”Chavie Weisberger/Facebook
According to court documents obtained by the New York Post, Naftali argued that Chavie “radically changed her lifestyle” and was living with a transgender man. Naftali said Chavie allowed their three children to watch a Christmas movie and participate in an Easter egg hunt. Chavie allegedly gave them a book about having gay parents, came out as gay to the oldest daughter, and the cut the son’s sidelocks.
Three years later, in 2015, a judged ruled in favor of Naftali, granting him sole legal and residential custody.
As the New York Post reports, in his ruling, Brooklyn Judge Eric Prus stated that he had to “consider the children’s religious upbringing as a paramount factor in any custody agreement.”
Judge Prus allowed Chavie limited, supervised, face-to-face visits with her children as long as she kept her sexuality a secret from her two youngest children.
Chavie was also required to “practice full religious observance in accordance with the Hasidic practices of ultra Orthodoxy” during visitation and appearances at the children’s schools.
The mom of three did not agree with the judge’s ruling; she continued to fight for her right to be herself around the children despite their religion.
Chavie appealed the ruling. Two years later, it was overturned.
According to the New York Post, three judges unanimously agreed that Judge Prus’s ruling “lacked sound substantial basis,” thus violating Chavie’s rights. According to their decision:
A religious-upbringing clause should not, and cannot, be enforced to the extend that it violates a parent’s legitimate due-process right to express oneself freely. The weight of the evidence does not support the conclusion that it is in the children’s best interests to have their mother categorically conceal the true nature of her feelings and beliefs from them at all times and in all respects.
Chavie was granted full custody of their three children on August 16.
Chavie is still required respect her children’s religion by keeping a Kosher home and allowing the children to attend a Hasidic school. They will also be allowed to practice full religious observance with Naftali, who was granted weekend visitation and additional visitation on Jewish holidays.
Neither Chavie or Naftali were immediately available for comment.