We have looked at two of the three areas where the Scriptures are often misinterpreted and subsequently misused to the detriment of those who suffer in abusive, neglectful and destructive marriages. The case has been made that God does not hate divorce or those who are compelled to divorce with cause, nor was it Jesus’ intent to convey that those who legitimately divorce are categorically hard-hearted.

The third most commonly misappropriated Scripture seemingly finds our Lord identifying adultery as the only biblical cause for divorce. This is perhaps the most common assertion in Christian circles – that divorce is only permitted in instances where adultery has been committed.

Jesus’ comment, from which this doctrine is taken, is found in three separate places in the gospels. The statement is found in Matthew Chapters 5 and 19 and Luke Chapter 16. Matthew’s account will serve as our reference, and it reads as follows:

It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32 (NASB)

In this account, our Lord’s statement referencing “divorce” and adultery follows comments He made that touch on what seem to be a loosely connected selection of subjects. But the subjects are, in fact, connected by an important, common thread. Jesus is contrasting common assumptions associated with law-keeping against a deeper spiritual reality – the condition of the heart.

His comments to the people began with what we have come to know as the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle… blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted…

Jesus’ message to a hurting people is, essentially, “You may think God doesn’t see your troubles, your struggles; that He is unaware. But, He sees your faithfulness. He sees it all. Don’t doubt; you will be rewarded. Jesus’ emphasis: God knows your heart.

He then clarifies that standing on the law alone does not equate to righteousness.

You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:21-22

Here it is stressed that while murder is a sin in the eyes of the law, hatred is a sin of the heart, even if the law is technically kept. Jesus’ emphasis: God knows your heart.

This theme is driven home with a powerful declaration:

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:27

Jesus contrasts sincere faith with the religious arrogance of the Pharisees, who represented themselves as morally superior keepers of the law. Though perhaps keeping the law in a technical sense – ticking off all the boxes of religiosity required under the law – Jesus knew the perversions that reigned in their hearts. They were all fluff and no stuff, and Jesus consistently assailed them for their hypocrisy.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:27-28

Jesus was and is unimpressed with superficial manifestations of faith. It is in the heart that our true nature and character are revealed. So, with this understanding in mind, we return to Matthew 5.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5: 21-30

Jesus is not saying that we should literally pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands when they partner with us in sin. No, He is saying that we may keep the letter of the law while defiling it in our hearts – where it matters most. Putting on a good show while sinning in secret is pure self-deception and a lifeless lie. Jesus is exhorting us to check our hearts and our motives with the full knowledge that nothing escapes God’s notice.

Of course, if we stand with the legalists on this subject, we could say that, since we are all guilty of adultery with a single lustful thought, then technically each of us could divorce our partner and be lawfully justified! You’ll never hear that angle preached from any pulpit – nor would I claim that is what Jesus is teaching here. Once again, the point of Jesus’ dispensation was that what God sees is not what the world sees, for He is the judge, not only of our conduct, but of every thought and motive.

Then He says:

It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

As can be seen from previous analyses, there is a profound distinction between the biblical writ of divorce, and the act of “putting away” a spouse, which is often poorly translated “divorce.” Young’s Literal Translation reads more accurately:

And it was said, that whoever may put away his wife, let him give to her a writing of divorce; but I – I say to you, that whoever may put away his wife, save for the matter of whoredom, doth make her to commit adultery; and whoever may marry her who hath been put away doth commit adultery.

Under the Mosaic law, a lawful divorce required a man to give a wife who had found no favor in his eyes a writ of divorcement, a document which released both of them to remarry. Divorce was never to be an issue taken lightly, nor exercised for selfish reasons, but was recognized as recourse and protection when there was legitimate cause. The Mosaic law therefore permitted divorcing a wife for “cause;” however, over time this had been interpreted to permit release for “any cause at all,” a heartless violation of the intent of the Mosaic law. Not only that, but men had become accustomed to releasing their wives without granting them a writ of divorce, presumably so that they could take other wives. Lacking a writ, “put away” wives could not legally remarry. The Pharisees (who were testing Jesus) wanted to see if Jesus would approve of their “any cause” logic. He didn’t.

Throughout His message Jesus says, “It has been said… but I say… ” He is not clarifying the law with another law, He is going beyond it, emphasizing this ultimate truth: Just because something may be rationalized as lawful does not make it right if your heart is wrong. Jesus’ emphasis once again: God knows your heart.

He then clarifies that the only appropriate cause for sending a wife away without a writ was the serious offense of unchastity. If you recall, Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, sought to put Mary away [send her away secretly] rather than have her stoned as would be required under the law had he accused her. Sending away a wife for any lesser offense was unduly harsh and left many women with several unappealing options: prostitution, begging, or living with a man in adultery. Nevertheless, the heartless practice of putting away a wife, presumably to take another wife, had become culturally acceptable, where men would send away their wives for the slightest of offenses. This is the matter to which our Lord strongly objects.

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There are various reasons why couples get divorced, and take note that divorce is no longer a taboo in modern societies. According to Gottman, an expert on divorce law, divorce is usually supported by two main factors why people commit such. Says Gottman, divorce is due to 7 year-relationships with existing major conflicts that remain unresolved and zero to twelve years without any intimacy and sufficient communication.

So why do these things happen to couples? Psychologists state that divorce is linked to personal problems like jealousy, poor time management, meager anger management, adultery, and unsaid hurt feelings towards the partner. These problems are highly related to the traditional American concept of independence – wherein we tend to pride ourselves with being able to solve problems alone. Research studies revealed that relationships with personal problems have the tendency to get divorced at least 4 to 12 years after marriage.

Shorter marriages were studied and showed that marriages ranging from 0 to 4 years old had divorce rate up to 87% especially if the wife’s history includes parental divorce. Divorce rates in the United States used top the whole world and studies showed that children whose parents experienced divorce are more likely to have divorce in the future.

One author commented that couples that do not know how to fight fairly usually end up getting divorced. This is because human nature dictates us to think that when someone loves us, there should be extremely no fighting. When fighting starts to occur, the situation catches the couple off-guard and turns simple fights into bigger problems.

What is a collaborative law divorce?

A collaborative law divorce is the practice of conflict resolution that uses a legal team process to achieve an amicable divorce. They do this by assisting the spouses in resolving their differences through guided negotiations to reach mutual decisions without going to court.

What does the collaborative law process look like?

Each spouse hires an attorney trained in collaborative law to represent him or her. They meet with their respective attorneys to go over all the issues concerning their marriage and family. These meetings are when each attorney gets to learn all about their client’s needs, wants and perspective to help them work through the divorce process.

Both spouses, along with their attorneys, then meet together to discuss each issue of the divorce one by one. Needs and concerns are openly expressed. Problem solving is approached as a team effort. Open communication is encouraged through questions, and honesty is the cornerstone of the process. Destructive and demeaning statements are specifically not allowed. All considerations are encouraged in the discussion as a means to identify hidden, underlying issues.

By going beyond the surface of a particular issue, couples often settle their problems at a deeper, more permanent level. Matters are not resolved until both parties can agree to a decision-the win/win concept. Once both parties have reached a mutual agreement on all concerns, the attorneys draw up final documents, which are then presented to a judge who signs off on the divorce and the divorce decree is granted.

The collaborative law process follows a few basic ground rules:

1. Neither party is coerced into signing off on a concern. Both parties need to be satisfied with the decision.

2. Threatening to go to court is not allowed.

3. If the collaborative process breaks off due to an impasse, both attorneys agree not to represent their clients in litigation.

4. Only one professional person from each of a variety of possible categories is used, such as a Realtor, tax accountant, child psychologist, etc. This avoids the “us vs. them” mentality.

5. All costs incurred during the deliberations are shared equally or incorporated as part of the negotiations.

What are the advantages of using the collaborative law process?

Many couples choose a collaborative law divorce process because it promotes a win/win outcome which makes it less contentious and faster and thus less expensive.

Collaborative law attorneys also give their clients more latitude of control over the proceedings than traditional divorce attorneys. It’s the couple’s lives that are being negotiated which mean they have the most at stake so their input is vital to its success. Collaborative law attorneys also try to work at a deeper level to resolve issues so that the parties are less likely to need to seek legal counsel and incur expenses in the future.

How is it different from mediation?

The main difference between mediation and collaborative law is that the process follows legal guidance. Mediators are facilitators and are not to provide legal advice where as collaborative law attorneys follow the law and offer legal counsel to their clients.

How do I know if it’s right for me?

Collaborative law is perfect for couples who want to avoid a nasty divorce. Their main concern is for the overall wellbeing of their children and they understand the consequences of a contentious divorce. Even though they don’t want to be married they also don’t want what’s left of their relationship to be destroyed by a legal process.

Where can I find a collaborative law attorney?

Filing for divorce does not require justification in many states. However, divorce law varies from state to state, and that can make it daunting for most people. Most divorces are emotional and stressful experiences even without the legal complexities. Naturally, questions about divorce are among the most commonly asked questions online. Below are a few of the most frequently asked divorce law questions.

Q. Is a lawyer necessary while filing for a divorce?

If both parties are in complete agreement, there may not be a need to retain a lawyer. In most cases though, disagreements and misunderstandings can start after the divorce. This can be because all aspects and implications of the divorce were not foreseen and addressed beforehand. Retaining a lawyer can help you address many of the issues that may come up in future. Also, divorce law can change from state to state, making it a practical and wise decision to retain a lawyer at the outset.

Q. Can a spouse contest a no-fault divorce before it goes to court?

A no-fault divorce application can only be filed when both partners agree completely. Most states do not even require you to have a reason or “grounds” for divorce if both the partners are in agreement. When a divorce application is filed, regardless of whether it is a no-fault divorce application or not, it can be contested by either of the partners before the final divorce decree is signed.

Q. What can you do if a respondent violates a court ordered divorce decree?

You can consider filing a petition for contempt of court. The petition would have to be filed at a court in the state where the divorce was granted. The severity of the violation and the law of the state will determine what legal action you can take against the violating respondent.

Q. Filing international divorce

A divorce can be filed regardless of the geographical location of your spouse as long as you are a resident of the state where you file for the divorce. Once you file for a divorce, a summons would have to be served on your spouse. If you do not know the exact location of your spouse, you should ask a lawyer. There could be other recourse that a lawyer would be able to recommend depending on your exact situation.

Q. Do you need to file for divorce in the same state that you have a prenuptial agreement in?

You should file for divorce in the state you currently reside in. Different states have different stipulations about how long you should have been a resident in the state before you can file for divorce. The courts in most states will recognize the pre-nuptial agreement from a different state, as long as it does not conflict with other local or state laws.

Divorce laws can seem daunting and confusing at times. Depending on how well informed you are about the divorce law in your state; the process can either seem simple or very traumatic. Questions about your specific situation are bound to arise in most cases. At such times, you can ask a lawyer online and get quick answers specific to your situation and the laws in your state.

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Divorce and separation is a stressful and upsetting time for every child involved no matter how old they are. Even adults whose parents decide to separate after a number of years can still be traumatised by the events. And what makes matters worse is that the legal system in this country is not set up properly to deal with custody battle in a number of situations. When one parent decides that they want to move far away from the family home and take the child with them, the justice system is more commonly than not on the side of the mother. The child’s wishes and emotional health play little part.

During the Victorian era, men were always granted custody whenever a marriage dissolved, no matter what the reason and the competence of the mother to look after their child. Now, we see that women are more often than not granted custody of their children when a marriage or partnership ends, often with a harsh settlement deal for the father.

Campaigners are now trying to find a middle point between these two extremes by making the child’s life easier during this time and continuing their access to both parents, unless of course there has been violence or mental damage done by one party.

A report has been published recently which criticises the court’s reluctance to give custody rights to fathers over mothers, and allows a mother to move far with the child so that the father is unable to see their child. It has called this action ‘state-sanctioned kidnap’ because the courts do not prevent one party taking their child a long distance away from their former partner.

Forcing a child to leave one of their parents, their other relatives, friends and the school which they have grown up in causes children emotional harm, stress and damage in the long-term. Judges have sometimes seemed to totally ignore the wishes of the child and granted custody to a parent when they showed a greater wish to stay with the other parent.

If you are going through a separation at the moment and children are involved, speak to a family lawyer like Raleys Solicitors who will be able to talk through your situation and help you decide on the best course of action for you and your child.

Courts of law have clev­erly dis­guised their mis­sion to ‘pro­duce rev­enue for the state’ by pay­ing lip ser­vice to impor­tant issues like the ‘dead­beat dad law’ and shared parental respon­si­bil­ity laws. The sys­tem right now is based on ‘ide­al­ism’ but as we all know, ide­al­ism is never going to work. Human nature will never allow ‘ide­al­ism’ to become a real­ity. So let’s grow up, and start get­ting practical.

The courts profit every time par­ents go fil­ing new motions. It’s in their best inter­est to actu­ally make and enforce laws as unfairly as pos­si­ble to con­tinue to cre­ate and pro­duce their streams of rev­enue. What is not in their best inter­est is to guide you on how to co-parent, but regard­less of their busi­ness model, your kids well being is not, and should never be, on the chop­ping block for the sake of some bureau­crats job.

Now this is where this is going to get hard for some peo­ple, but it’s time to grow up. If you keep look­ing to this ‘sys­tem’ that has screwed you for it’s own per­sonal gain once, why would you keep going back to it to fight your bat­tle? More­over, why are you fight­ing a bat­tle at all? You don’t need to fight a bat­tle and you don’t need the big bad judge to ‘admon­ish’ Mom or Dad for not being what YOU think is, the ideal par­ent. Fur­ther­more, you cer­tainly do not need to be try­ing to prove a par­ent unfit to get cus­tody, remove child sup­port, or reduce it.

What you should be doing is work­ing TOGETHER to be sure that between the two of you, with a lit­tle extra effort, you both are giv­ing the kids the same life and lifestyle you could give them if you were still together. It might mean either or both of you work­ing a sec­ond job, it might mean one of you or the other giv­ing up man­i­cures or golf. Regard­less, divorc­ing is not a rea­son to take away from your kids, and shared cus­tody should not be a means to give them less of a life than a two income home would give them.

Grow up. Don’t look to the courts to make either of you par­tic­i­pate in this. There’s no profit in that for them. It’s hard to pros­e­cute the dead­beat dad law because there is no profit in it for the state. Get with a coun­selor to learn how to get along and get with a finan­cial advi­sor or even a busi­ness advi­sor who can help you start a part time busi­ness to cover the income that was lost to either of you in the divorce. Keep it out of the courts, and every­one will be hap­pier, espe­cially the kids. Just grow up.

Family Law is a specialty that not all lawyers have experience in. If you are going through a divorce and having issues with custody you want to find an attorney that knows family law. This field of law can be complicated so make sure you find somebody that you feel comfortable with can do the right job for you. Domestic issues whether it is divorce or child custody touches just about every social class, whether you are wealthy or you are poor. This type of law deals with many issues that come up with in a marriage. You may be having an issue with your acts and getting proper custody of your children, a good family lawyer can help you with your rights.

If you are thinking about it not being a child you will also need a family lawyer who has experience to draw up the papers that you need. Also you can consult with this type of attorney to make sure you go through the right processes in finding a new child. There have also been cases where a family lawyer with needed to get involved when a child was a abducted from their biological parent.

There are many reasons that you would need to hire a family law attorney but sure you find one that you feel comfortable with. You should always check to see if they specialize in this type of law. Many lawyers have a degree but do not specialize in anything specific this is not who you want.

Remember that family law can be complicated and if you are going through divorce or dealing with child custody it is important you find a good attorney. You should not settle for the first attorney you visit, it is important to find someone that you feel comfortable with.

The subject of family law is a broad and diverse subject. It covers a wide range of issues and topics mainly involving the subject of marriage and the rights of children under marriage. Some of the subjects that pertain to family law are divorce, annulment and child support.

Divorce

Typically the formal definition of divorce is worded in various ways, but generally it is designated as a decree or order from a court judge stating that a marriage is (from that day forward) terminated and dissolved.

What we consider divorce and how we handle it is different than how it was handled many years ago. Ancient civilizations considered the subjects of marriage and divorce (or marriage dissolution) to be matters of privacy and while certain religions have always had opinions regarding divorce governments did not generally get involved.

Since the time that the United States claimed its independence, the subject of divorce and family law developed on a regional basis, obviously because during the early years there was a lot of differing opinions on how the country should be run and the subject of family law was included in that development. The U.S. Constitution specified that divorce should be regulated individually by the states. For many years it was generally accepted that divorce would only be granted after one spouse showed evidence of fault, or breach of the marriage contract on the part of the other spouse.

Nowadays every state in the U.S. has accepted what is called a “no fault divorce.” A no fault divorce means that the person in the marriage who is filing for divorce does not have to provide legal proof that their spouse did something specific to violate or breach the marriage contract.

Annulment

Annulment in its most basic definition is a legal determination (by a court judge) that a marriage to be null and void, usually because the marriage was formed and took place under disputable circumstances. In the U.S., the rules that allow a marriage to be considered for annulment vary from one state to the other because individual states have varying family law regulations.

Most of the time a marriage is annulled when a marriage involves parties that are under legal age; and act of duress (one party claiming to be forced into the marriage); one party purposely concealing their previous life history to the to the other party, or any number of other factors. The difference between divorce and annulment is that whereas a divorce decrees that a marriage no longer exists, an annulment decree states that the marriage never legally existed.

Child Support

Child support is the provision of financial support or payment of monies to ensure that a child whose parents have divorced will receive continuous, future financial support from both parents. It is commonly accepted by courts and society as a whole that such children need to have solid financial support system from both parents, even if they are no longer married and/or living together.

In most U.S. states child support is a form of a financial support payment plan that is determined or ordered by a judge in a family law court. It is also considered to be good public policy to require divorced parents to provide monetary support for their children so that the children do not become neglected and become dependent on already overburdened state and public welfare systems.

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In the state of Texas, common law marriage is recognized when two individuals live together and agree that they are “married”, refer to each other as “husband or wife”, and perform actions that are typical for married couples (such as filing a joint tax return). Under these conditions in this state, you could be legally eligible for this type of marriage determination. However, it is important to understand that even though the state of Texas identifies common law marriages, there is no similar process for common law divorces. This particular endeavor has its own set of rules and a couple cannot be simply divorce by stating it publicly or living apart.

If you choose to dissolve your marriage, you will still need to divide your assets and make determination regarding child support and child custody. Because this process can often be very complicated and time-consuming, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you through this process, as it will need to be done in a legally-recognizable manner. Consult with a lawyer today to answer any questions you may have regarding this procedure.

The following provisions may be said about common law divorce:

Either spouse in the marriage has 2 years after you separate to file an action to prove that your marriage did indeed exist.
You must have separated after September 1, 1989.
You are still responsible for assets, debt, and the care of your children.
In order to make sure that your spouse is legally responsible for what is owed to you, a divorce is preferred, rather than a legal separation or annulment.

If you experienced any form a spousal abuse in your common law marriage, there are provisions that can protect you under the law, such as requesting a protective order. These rights are still applicable for common law spouses as they are for spouses who obtain marriage licenses. Regardless of your marital status, you still may want to consult with a lawyer to make sure that you receive all of the funds to which you are entitled and your partner upholds his or her end of the custody determination.

Family law disputes range from complex legal battles to the unchallenged officiating of circumstances. Though aspects may be very simple, and be included in all legal service, others can become heated and highly disputed legal battles lasting many months. While the former may be delivered by any qualified lawyer, it’s best to invest in the best family law attorney if you are expecting a fight.

Finding one isn’t just a matter of establishing a big budget for your legal battle. In fact, the first step to finding a strong attorney is to take money out of the equation.

Firstly, it’s generally not legal or advisable to use your usual family solicitor if they have previously represented any party that you will be fighting against. In the case of family law, this typically represents the other half of a marriage or a child’s second custodian. You may, however, ask your solicitor for advice in selecting a strong person to represent you.

Secondly: Choose experience and specialization. Family law encompasses a vast and varied knowledge base. Lawyers will use substantial reference material to help them pursue complex cases, but their overall knowledge and experience with the subject will substantially affect research time and the quality of their results. A lawyer charging an hourly rate which initially seems quite cheap may in fact take many more hours to accomplish the same as a more experienced attorney. Look for experience, specialization and then price, with an aim to balance the three factors.

Budget with your attorney. Most attorneys will be flexible when it comes to formulating payment plans, they are aware that their services can be costly and are sensitive to a clients constraints. Just because you are on a budget does not mean you can’t afford an excellent attorney, in fact it may be to your advantage to spend that little bit more. An experienced attorney will prioritize workload based upon your budget and will be able to establish a far more accurate overview of case costs.

To get in touch with an excellent family law divorce lawyer attorney, seek out your local or regional law society or guiding body. These institutions exist, in one form or another, in most western countries and aim to document and accredit genuinely excellent lawyers. That said, you should be wary of false accreditations and ask any prospective lawyers how you might verify their record.

It should be clear by now that finding the best family law attorney does not necessarily mean spending a fortune. In fact, you may find cheaper attorneys ultimately cost more due to extended research time and protracted cases. Ensure that they have a good understanding of the areas of law he may be required to fight, and ask them for an estimation as to the length and complexity of the case they are undertaking.