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Court Forces Hispanic Catholic Woman To Follow Orthodox Jewish Rules (VIDEO)

First Posted: 05/18/10 01:21 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:30 PM ET

Laura Derbigney tries to bring a little of her Hispanic upbringing into her family life.

"I like to shop at Hispanic-owned stores," she said. "I make tacos, I make enchiladas, I make flautas."

But not on the weekends, according to a court order.

She can't prepare pork or other traditional foods on weekends. She can't drive or use electricity on Saturdays. In fact, a judge has mandated that this Hispanic Catholic from Chicago follow Orthodox Jewish restrictions during the Sabbath.

The reason? Her new husband, recently divorced from a strictly observant Jewish woman. A divorce court has ruled that the seven-year-old son of that marriage must live an Orthodox lifestyle even while in the care of his father and step-mother, according to an NBC Chicago report.

(Scroll down for an interview with Ms. Derbigney.)

The boy's mother has even asked that Derbigney and her husband buy the boy's food from a specific grocery store, on suspicion that he was fed a non-kosher hot dog at his father's house.

Joel Brodsky, Derbigney's attorney, is incensed. From NBC:

"Just because you're divorced, the court can't say how to live your lives or what grocery store you can go to," Brodsky said. "The next step is going to be a Muslim father with custody. During the next visitation, is the mother going to have to wear a burka? That's where we're heading. Divorce courts have to stop getting in the way of religion."

If the case and its lawyer sound oddly familiar, it's because they are. Strangely enough, this is the second case this year of a Chicago custody dispute involving a Jewish mother and a Hispanic Catholic.

Brodsky was also the attorney for Joseph Reyes, a father whose Jewish ex-wife demanded that he not take their daughter to church after he baptized the girl without her mother's knowledge. A judge issued a restraining order preventing him from taking her to church, which he violated. In the final ruling, Reyes was allowed to bring his daughter to worship with him.

In this more recent case, neither of the seven-year-old boy's biological parents could speak to the press due to a gag order.

But Laura Derbigney asked the one question that drove straight to the heart of the problem:

"What about my culture in this? What about my husband's culture?"

Watch Laura Derbigney speak to NBC Chicago:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

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Filed by Will Guzzardi  |