In response to the steady decline of successful marriages during the past 30 years, more than 50 ministries have joined together in the Covenant Marriage Movement to affirm and celebrate marriage as a covenant relationship. Couples will be encouraged to sign commitment cards that say, "Believing that marriage is a covenant, intended by God to be a lifelong, fruitful relationship between a man and a woman, we vow to God, each other, our families and our communities to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation and sexual purity while purposefully growing in our covenant marriage relationship.
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a former Southern Baptist pastor, and his wife, Janet, will demonstrate the importance of the issue by converting their year marriage into a covenant marriage on Valentine's Day in a sports arena with 1, other couples as witnesses. The law offers a special marriage license that requires couples seeking divorce to attend counseling and wait for a longer time period before a divorce is granted.
The option is voluntary, and couples already married can convert their marriages to covenant marriages. The rules of a covenant marriage require couples to complete premarital counseling, sign an affidavit and pledge to seek marital counseling if problems arise, with the option for divorce limited to reasons like abuse, abandonment and adultery, according to a feature on the movement in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Jan. If a troubled marriage fits the criteria and cannot be saved through counseling, couples with children must wait 18 months before a divorce is granted, and couples without children must wait one year.
With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we declare that our marriage will be bound by Michigan law on covenant marriage, and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives. The proposed Michigan law governing covenant marriages would then provide that a divorce could not be granted until the following conditions were met:. Initially, let me make it perfectly clear that most divorce lawyers are not opposed to "divorce reform". The intent behind these "divorce reform bills" is admirable.
The drafters of these bills should be commended for trying to reduce the divorce rate and the adverse consequences of divorce.
I don't believe that anyone can object to that goal. However, the reinstitution of "fault" divorces simply will not accomplish that goal. In fact, it will make matters worse for individuals and children going through a divorce. In , the State of Michigan repealed "fault" divorces for very good reasons. People were simply saying and doing whatever was necessary to get around the law. The law created needless hostility, collusion, and perjury when it came to dealing with the concept of fault.
In the end, individuals who wanted a divorce ultimately found a way to obtain that divorce. The abolition of "fault" divorces in was nothing more than a recognition that no law will ever have the power of forcing people to stay together if they don't want to. In other words, you can't legislate morality in friendship. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since If one party wants a divorce, they will find a way to do so whether it be by divorce or separation. For example, if a Judge were to tell an individual that he or she did not satisfy the "fault" requirement and they had to remain married, do you really think they would do so?
Ultimately, there would be a separation or abandonment. If this were to occur, the situation could be worse for an innocent spouse and children because there is no law in our state which provides for alimony, child support or property division without the filing of a complaint for divorce or separate maintenance. In this situation, the parties would continue to be married, but the reinstitution of "fault" did not save their marriage. I keep hearing the same reasons in support of the reinstitution of "fault" divorces.
Proponents argue that it will lower the divorce rate and that an innocent spouse will receive an economic advantage. I believe that each one of these arguments are erroneous.
First of all, there is no evidence that the reinstitution of "fault" divorces will lower the divorce rate. In fact, divorce was on the rise under our "fault" system and presently statistics show that divorce is actually on a decline. Secondly, the reinstitution of "fault" divorces will not give any more bargaining power to the innocent spouse than they already have.
Under our present system, the court can still consider "fault" when it comes to a division of property, an award of alimony and a determination of custody. If we went back to the old ways of and reinstated "fault" divorces, the following negative consequences would most likely occur:. More concentration would be spent on who was to blame in the breakup of the marriage and less time spent on amicably trying to resolve the issues in dispute.
There would be more litigation and nastier divorce trials with each side trying to prove who was to blame. Innocent children would now have to witness the character assassination of their parents.
In the end, there will be a judicial determination made that the children will carry with them for the rest of their lives that one of their parents was at "fault" in the breakdown of the marriage. The above are just a few of the negative consequences which could result in the reinstitution of a "fault" system. What are the positive?
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I have seen no statistics which show that forcing children or spouses to stay in an unhealthy relationship would cause fewer problems or turmoil than allowing them to leave. The only plausible argument in support of reinstituting fault is that it may give a better bargaining position to the innocent spouse when a divorce is filed. In other words, "I will give you your divorce, but only if you give me,.
Once again, this isn't necessary because an innocent spouse already has that clout under our "no-fault" system.
First of all, we need to recognize that divorce is not the cause of societies problems, but rather the result of societies problems. If you really want to reduce the divorce rate, you need to find the causes of divorce and then work on resolving those problems. Education and counseling are perhaps the best ways to reduce the divorce rate.
We need to educate individuals on the negative consequences of divorce before marriage and during a divorce. If under 18 years of age. Arkansas Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality.
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You choose the best AR Wedding Officiant. Ask a Lawyer Online Now! Both parties 18 or older must present a valid government issued identification. If you were previously married, you will need to show your divorce decree, or have information regarding date, county and state of death of previous spouse. If you name has changed, you need to bring a certified copy of your divorce decree.
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Acceptable form of payment is cash. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead. Act of created an option for couples in Arkansas to choose a Covenant Marriage. A man and a woman may contract a Covenant Marriage by declaring their intent to do so on their Application for Marriage license and executing a Declaration of Intent to contract a Covenant Marriage.
The Application for a marriage license and the Declaration of Intent shall be filed with the official who issues the marriage license.
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