Divorce


#1

This may be addressed elsewhere. If so, I apologize.

I hold the vows of marriage as sacred. Vows before God are not to be taken lightly. So if you vow til death do you part, then so be it. Too many people get out marriage too quickly and over the sillest of things.

I’m not Catholic, but I know the Catholic church is more strict on marriage vows than other Christian denominations. I applaud the Catholic church for promoting marriage as sacred.
I just have one question though.

Assume the couple is Catholic. What happens when one spouse cheats on the other and refuses to stop? Or decides to live with another who they aren’t married to? What recourse does the cheated on spouse have in the church? I ask because I think the only reason that one can biblically get divorced is in the case of adultery and then only as a last resort. Reconcilation should always be tried. If both sides are willing to reconcile then they should. But what if one refuses to be reconciled? Will the church issue a divorce?


#2

Melly,

Welcome to the forum!

First of all, the Church doesn’t issue divorces. Divorce is a legal matter. Whether or not a couple has had a legal divorce has little consequence on the spiritual reality of their marriage.

If there was a situation where it was in the best interest of one or both parties to split (abuse, adultry and a refusal to reconcile, etc) they could obtain a civil divorce. One would hope that at least one of the party had been seeking regular spiritual advice from their pastor and this was the last resort. If that person wanted to, they could put forth a case to the marriage tribunal of their diocese. The tribunal would then investiage whether or not a valid marriage every occured at the time of the couple’s wedding.

If the tribunal determined that there was no valid marriage between the two people, they issue a decree stating that the marriage is null (often mistakenly called an annulment). There are many reasons a valid marriage could not have taken place: the people were forced into marriage, they were underage, they did not have a proper understanding of what marriage entailed, they did not plan to welcome children into their family, they were Catholic and did not marry in the Church, etc, etc.

If the tribunal finds that a valid marriage did occur, then the couple is married in the eyes of God and will remain that way until one or the other dies. They would be expected to abide by their vows. That would mean no dating other people, no marrying other people, etc. It is unfortunate for the party who was wronged, but one of the spiritual works of mercy is to bear wrongs patiently.

I hope this helped.


#3

So lets say I’m married and my husband and I are Catholic. we stay marrieg for 10 years and he leaves me for another woman. If my marriage is found to be valid at the time of our vows, then I have to stay married to him even though he has left me? Is it possible to have a legal divorce, but still be considered married in the eyes of God?


#4

[quote=mellysue]So lets say I’m married and my husband and I are Catholic. we stay marrieg for 10 years and he leaves me for another woman. If my marriage is found to be valid at the time of our vows, then I have to stay married to him even though he has left me? Is it possible to have a legal divorce, but still be considered married in the eyes of God?
[/quote]

Hi Melly…Yes…you can have a legal divorce and still be married in the eyes of God. I feel incredibly bad for people in such a situation :frowning:


#5

[quote=mellysue]So lets say I’m married and my husband and I are Catholic. we stay marrieg for 10 years and he leaves me for another woman. If my marriage is found to be valid at the time of our vows, then I have to stay married to him even though he has left me? Is it possible to have a legal divorce, but still be considered married in the eyes of God?
[/quote]

I legal divorce is really viewed by the Church as a separation. It simply ends the legal aspects of the marriage. It has no impact on the issue of actually being married or not in the eyes of the Church. So as the other poster said, one can be legally divorced and still married. I am in fact in that exact situation.

I am divorced. My former spouse is remarried but I am not as I am still married to her in the eyes of the Church. This can certainly be difficult. This can be difficult for those outside the Catholic Church to understand as well. You do not know how often I am asked if I am dating or when I am going to get remarried and the dumbfounded looks I get when I explain to non-Catholics that I am still married when they know I have been divorced for a couple of years and my former spouse is remarried. However, I will never be remarried unless the Church finds my previously marriage to be invalid and grants a decree of nullity.


#6

[quote=mellysue]So lets say I’m married and my husband and I are Catholic. we stay marrieg for 10 years and he leaves me for another woman. If my marriage is found to be valid at the time of our vows, then I have to stay married to him even though he has left me? Is it possible to have a legal divorce, but still be considered married in the eyes of God?
[/quote]

Yes, Mellysue. And it can be very difficult. My father left my mother for another woman. She refused to divorce him. She said if he wanted a civil divorce he would have to file and pay for it. He did and he married the other woman in front of a justice of the peace. My mother raised my brother and I in the Church and never bad mouthed my father, never denied him access to my brother and I, always cordially welcomed him into our home. When my father’s wife died, my father told me that he was thoroughly ashamed of his actions and that he had been a fool. My mother and he did not exactly reconcile in that they never lived under the same roof again (by that time they were both in their late 70’s). However, my father came back to the Church and when he died he died fully reconcilled to Christ. I believe it is because my Mom - despite the personal pain it must have caused her - put her love for Jesus first, made the Virgin Mary her model and put her energy into raising her children and putting food on the table. She had a successful business career, raised a family and was a model of a Catholic Christian woman. I should BE so lucky as to be half the woman she is! She is 83, looks 63, helps my brother with the child care of his three kids, we share a home, my two nephews live with us and our lives are rich and full.

I know this is more than you asked but Faithful Obedient Daughters of the Holy Mother Church are rewarded for their Obedience. We may be civilly divorced and married in the eyes of the Church.


#7

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