Most religions have rules regarding marriage that can affect the faithful who find themselves in a situation where divorce is necessary or desirable. Adherents to religions such as Judaism, Buddhism, Catholicism, and Islam can get married “in the faith” as well as civilly, and if they wish to end or nullify the marriage, it can require two separate processes.

Religious divorces usually accompany or follow civil divorces, where the couple works to gain the same freedoms before the law. In some religious couples’ minds, the civil divorce is actually the less important of the two, because it “only” deals with real-world issues and not the status of their souls. For more details on religious divorces in Alpharetta, speak with an experienced lawyer from our firm.

Religious Divorce vs Civil Divorce

Religious divorces permit the faithful to live as a single people after divorce without jeopardizing their accepted religious status. It gives the divorced spouses parallel rights in the eyes of their religion as those which civil divorce in Alpharetta confers on their legal status. Although producing the same freedoms in the eyes of the believers, the two types of divorce deal with different spheres of reality and therefore have different purposes.

The civil divorce clears the family from their legal marriage contract and settles issues such as spousal support, distribution of assets, and child custody. However, if the spouses wish to be considered free to remarry in the faith at a future time, then they may be faced with a religious tribunal or other requirements to dissolve the religious marriage bond.

Non-religious people can appreciate the need for recognition when a marriage is over. They get this through the process of civil divorce. Afterward, they are free to remarry, make independent financial decisions, and enter into contractual obligations separately from their ex. Faithful adherents of religions that constrain divorce want the same things, but they achieve them by undergoing the process set out by their religion to justify ending marriage vows.

Changing Your Marital Status

For certain religions, a civil divorce does not affect the couple’s married status in the eyes of their religious leaders and peers. On the other hand, a purely religious divorce or annulment does not permit the spouses to enjoy the legal benefits of a second marriage, such as validity, freedom from encumbrance, right of survivorship, or legitimate children. Most divorcing couples from this type of religion will seek both types of divorce to obtain the entire range of rights and freedoms available through both.

The Validity of Divorce

Any religion which puts constraints on divorce also considers a religious divorce more valid than a civil divorce. However, most religious institutions will not initiate religious divorce until the civil union is dissolved. In any case (Catholicism annulment included), the marriage must be proven to be irredeemable prior to dissolving the union in the religious sphere.

This does not bar the same religions from withholding acknowledgement of a couple’s divorce until it is accomplished through the religion. In other words, many religions do not consider civil dissolutions valid at all (i.e. the couple is still seen as married). This would mean that remarriage is adultery, and children born to a new union are illegitimate. Some communities hold husbands who have not completed a religious divorce responsible for continuing to support and even house their ex-spouses.

Traditional Jews who are divorcing civilly in Alpharetta sometimes go to great lengths to deliver – or obtain – the get, which will simultaneously set them free religiously from the married state. It is well known that devout Jewish women will often agree to unfair financial or custody provisions in their divorce orders when forced to through negotiations with a husband who is withholding the get, due to its vital role in her post-divorce independence and religious standing.

Religious Rules for who Can Initiate Divorce

Religions which allow only the husband to initiate or obtain divorce are increasingly rare. This leaves women in a state of dependency, which usually includes financial, physical, and mental wellbeing as well as for access to her children. Most nations today have worked to interpret religious laws in such a way that women can have some access to divorce, at least in the most dire situations, as a humanitarian imperative.

Who Performs Religious Divorces?

Clerics must be located to perform the procedures of religious divorces in Alpharetta. Catholicism historically required couples to go before a three-person religious tribunal, which could be very difficult to assemble in rural areas or poorer countries, and caused adherents to forego the process unless and until they were ready to remarry. However, Pope Francis modified the law to provide a “fast track” for annulment which allowed a hearing before a single bishop or judge. This reduced the barriers for Catholics to seek annulments.

In Islam, it is not actually necessary for a cleric to perform any rites before a couple is divorced. The husband may simply pronounce talaq and be done with his marriage. Among conservative Jews, rabbinic law requires the man to present – and the woman to accept – the get in front of a beit din, or religious court, including witnesses. The possibility of securing clerics for a Jewish religious divorce is often less problematic than securing the wife’s acceptance of the get in the first place.

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