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Parents In Religious Custody Fight Met At Adult Theater

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Nelson Derbigny And Elina Margolina In 1998. (Personal Photo)

Nelson Derbigny And Elina Margolina In 1998. (Personal Photo)

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Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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CHICAGO (WBBM) - A custody fight is heating up and due for trial next month in Cook County Court between a Catholic father and a Hasidic Jewish mother. Both parents have come a long way since the day they met.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller Reports

It was the mid 1990s.

He was a manager at the Admiral Theatre, an adult entertainment venue on the North Side.

She was a performer.

They married.  And nine years later, divorced.

He went into real estate.  And she went from adult dancer to very strict Hasidic Jew.

“I don’t really know her reasons for her embrace of her new lifestyle.”

Nelson Derbigny is the father of the 8-year-old boy at the center of the custody fight. The mother is Elina Margolina.

He says joint custody is not working because his ex-wife, the former Admiral Theatre dancer, holds strict beliefs which she’s imposing on their son.

“I guess I just don’t want him to think of one group of people as being superior to another group of people.”

Court filings by Derbigny say his son told him, “Jews are better and smarter than non-Jews.”

Derbigny says he doesn’t fault his ex-wife for her religious views.  He says he just wants his son to have a full childhood.  And to not think of one religious group as superior.

Court filings by Derbigny’s attorney say the boy has told his father he couldn’t go to church because “Jesus is in there and he is bad.”

The attorney for the boy’s mother has refused to comment.

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