Religion: Divorce or Stay Married?

A woman sued her divorce lawyers for negligence, claiming they failed to tell her finalizing her divorce would end her marriage. Crazy, right? It also places the issue of religion and divorce back in the news.

According to the U.K.’s Independent, the divorce malpractice case had already been rejected by the court, but was before a higher British court on appeal.

Jane Mulcahy had argued that the lawyers should have made it clear that a divorce would cause her marriage to be terminated – something which she apparently wanted to avoid.

The lawyers failed to regard her Roman Catholic faith, and should have recommended judicial separation – a step down from full divorce – as an alternative course of action, she said.

I’ve written about religion and divorces before. Each religion has its own requirements for completing a divorce. Although religion is not a factor Florida courts can consider in granting a divorce, for the parties, religion can be extremely important.

Islam has a waiting period. The Catholic Church has the Decree of Invalidity and other remedies so spouses are free to marry again. In Judaism, a husband must give his wife a “Get”.

To avoid problems such as the British woman’s Florida allows people to file for alimony and child support unconnected with dissolution.

In Florida, if a spouse has the ability to contribute to maintain and support the family, but fails to, the other spouse can apply to a court for alimony and for support for the child – without seeking a dissolution of marriage.

Many people are often unaware that there are serious consequences to ending your marriage (loss of health insurance and tax implications for example) and that you can’t simply annul your marriage the way you can divorce.

In the British case, Lord Justice Briggs said:

“The most striking of Mrs Mulcahy’s many allegations of negligence against her solicitors was that, having regard to her Roman Catholic faith, Mrs Boots had failed to give her the advice which was requisite in view of her firmly held belief in the sanctity of marriage…

The Independent article is here.