Religion and Divorce: A Brief Comparison of Three Major Religions

Roscich & Martell Law Firm, LLC
Divorce is a process that is fraught with emotion and consequences, both intangible and tangible. Amongst the stress of property distribution, questions about child custody, and spousal maintenance lingers feelings of abandonment, scorn, or betrayal. An educated and knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney can help navigate the civil divorce process and assuage some of these uncertainties and fears. But what of the religious aspects of divorce? For people of faith, divorce can be more damaging, depending on what religion is practiced. The three major world religions each treat divorce differently. While a civil divorce, aided by an attorney, will end your marriage in the eyes of the law, you may need to take additional steps in the eyes of your religion.

Catholicism: Divorce Does Not Exist

The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce as an option to end a marriage, and civil divorce will simply not end a marriage in the eyes of the Church. This is based on Jesus' words, as quoted in the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.” The Catholic Church takes these words literally; if a divorcee marries, he or she is in a state of adultery for their entire lives, as their first marriage never ended.

The only way to end a marriage is to receive an annulment from the Church. While there are many grounds for annulment under civil law, the Church's grounds are more nebulous. They include the traditional civil grounds, such as minority of the parties and close blood relation. They also include a defect in consent. This could be anything from coercion of one party by the other, to drug or alcohol impairment at the time of the marriage, to an overbearing parent pressuring the party to marry.

Islam: Divorce Exists, and It Is Far Easier for the Husband

In Sunni Islam, a man must merely intone thewords of divorce (talaq) three times to his wife. While this is viewed as sinful, it is recognized as a valid dissolution of the marriage. Shi'a Islam requires that the words be spoken with two witnesses present, and there must be a period of attempted reconciliation between the parties before the divorce is valid. If a woman wishes to divorce her husband, she must petition a qadi (a judge under Islamic law) for permission. There is also a mandatory waiting period before the divorce is recognized.

Judaism: Divorce Can Only Be Initiated By the Husband

Divorce has always been a part of Judaism. While it is frowned upon, it is a fact of life that rabbis have always recognized. The husband is the only party that can initiate the divorce, and then for nearly any reason. All that is needed is a written decree of divorce in the husband's hand. The decree, commonly called a “get,” ends the divorce from that day. If a wife wants a divorce, the get is still required. In one case, one Orthodox Jewish rabbi resorted to physical violence and intimidation to get women a get from their husbands.

Civil Divorce and You

If you are seeking divorce, your relationship with your religious officials may be difficult. However, an experienced divorce attorney can handle your case and reduce your stress on the civil side. If you are contemplating divorce, contact a Naperville family law attorney today.
Related Posts
  • How To Protect Assets in Divorce Read More
  • Getting Divorced? Here is How You Should Handle Things at Work Read More
  • Are Babyboomers Still Pushing Up Divorce Rates? Read More