Brave New World – Religious Divorce

While there are many new, complex, and dangerous issues facing this Nation, there are some that are profoundly the same. On Sunday, January 25, 2015, the New York Times reported an article on page one denoting that the Roman Catholic Church is re-examining its stance on divorce and whether a marriage, once made, is indissoluble. At the heart of this question is a discussion which is intrinsic to all of the great faiths of the world, spans many centuries, and has, in part, even spawned wars. There are many who hold dear the tenets of their faith and yet have been banned from practicing it because divorce is not recognized as a “viable option.” Florida unwittingly became a pioneer in the area of divorce when Henry Morrison Flagler was permitted to divorce his second wife by reason of her diagnosed insanity; something that was disallowed formerly. Previously neither Florida nor most other states permitted divorce unless “fault” (usually adultery) could be proven. These and other legislative policies were shaped by Judeo-Christian or faith based ideals.

On January 6, 2015 Florida became one of several states whose same-sex marriage ban was held unconstitutional. In light of the significant split by federal appellate courts regarding which unions shall constitute a “marriage”, the United States Supreme Court shall address the issue prior to the conclusion of its spring session in 2015. With this question squarely before the highest court of our Nation, it will be noteworthy to observe whether the tenets of faith continue to diverge with civil ideals. However, even when the dust has cleared from this highly emotionally judicial decision, the more difficult issue of divorce within the confines of certain faiths shall still remain. The question of obtaining a “religious divorce” has had a resurgence over the last decade. In the Catholic faith, it is provided by way of an annulment; in the Jewish faith it is provided by way of a Get, and although the Protestant faith has no formal outlet to address the issue, certain sects of Protestantism are providing their members with church based programs for help. As we venture into 2015 and beyond, marriage, divorce, parental identification, and many more core values of our society will be touched by the answers which are applied to the questions involving marriage and divorce. Finding a lawyer who can be of assistance with all of the issues can be a great relief. If you would like to know more, please contact me, Lise Hudson at Hudson Family Law; telephone: (561)472-0805 or on the web at:

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