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Asked in Yorktown, VA Oct. 11, 2012 ,  3 answers Visitors: 23
What happens if I refuse to sign a separation agreement because of my religious convictions?
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3 Answers

Anonymous
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Posted on / Oct. 12, 2012 18:12:00

If you agree to the terms, then you should sign the agreement. That simple. The real heart of the matter is your reference to your religious convictions. I doubt they have anything to do with signing agreements. I suspect your real issue is you disagree with divorce and I can appreciate that. I believe it is in Mark, somewhere around chapter 6 or 7, that Christ talks about how divorce was a creation of man because of our weakness. A divorce was allowed for adultery; however in the eyes of God if either party should re-marry that would still be adultery. This is true no matter how you cut it. Two people become one and no matter what attorney tells you other wise you will never be the same. I have had fellow Christians ask how in the world can I do divorce law and reconcile that with the Bible. Bottom line is, no reconciliation is needed. When you have someone, (your husband) break his vows, (adultery) there should be a means to where you can be free of your role as a Wife. This is a divorce, plain and simply. This agreement in question is proof that you two can be adults and work the property and support issues out.

Back to the religious issues.... Inevitably, you will find someone new and this in God's eyes is still adultery. God is trying to teach us as hard headed as we are, that when a marriage breaks down, both parties are at fault. We should make all efforts to preserve the marriage, but you can't always because we are sinful humans. Just like when you break your vows and sleep with someone else.

You can be divorced. But you both need forgiveness in order to have your own new separate lives. This is where God comes in, as always, to forgive, to love, and be our Father.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Oct. 12, 2012 16:16:33

I completely agree with Mr. Miller's previous response. All I would add to that is to stress how helpful it might be to your current situation to work with both your attorney and your religious advisor to resolve this. It is absolutely possible to put language in the settlement agreement and/or the Final Decree of Divorce that essentially states that wife is seeking a divorce due to husband's adulterous behavior (yet asks for divorce on basis of one year separation, which avoids having to put on a hearing on adultery) and states that by entering into a settlement of the divorce/alimony/property division wife in no way condones, forgives, excuses, etc. husband's behavior and that his actions are against her religious beliefs. I saw this because I had just such a case several years ago in Fairfax County and the judge allowed this type of provision expressing wife's religious objections concerning divorce and adultery in the Final Decree.

So, if you can find a family attorney in your local area who is creative (and/or has dealt with this issue before) and talk through your concerns with your spiritual counselor throughout the process, you should be able to resolve your marital situation with an agreement and without an expensive, lengthy, and/or more painful legal process while remaining faithful to your religious convictions. You may want to check with your church to see if there is an attorney that one of the people at your church recommends. There are also a number of Christian attorneys who advertise in the yellow book and online as well.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Oct. 11, 2012 15:13:52

An agreement is only effective if in writing and signed by both parties. See links below.

It would be an unusual day for the judge, but you could have a hearing that would essentially be uncontested where each of you ask the court to order support, property division, etc. consistent with the terms of your agreement. The court could not adopt or enforce the agreement, as there is no agreement without signatures, in its own right. But the court could make rulings that look remarkably like the terms of your agreement.

Under any circumstance, the grounds of divorce must be proven. Parties cannot agree to divorce. "No divorce, annulment, or affirmation of a marriage shall be granted on the uncorroborated testimony of the parties or either of them." Adultery has to be proven by clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher standard than the typical civil standard of a preponderance of the evidence.

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