Divorce is difficult for anyone, but those who are religious can face added challenges because their religious faith may discourage divorce or otherwise consider divorce to be against the faith. The reality is, divorce happens to around 50 percent of couples and no one of any religious faith should stay trapped in a bad marriage because of their beliefs. Many in the Catholic church are recognizing this reality, and there is a serious effort to loosen the rules when it comes to divorce and Communion.
While those who get a divorce may not have the ability to change the way their religion views the matter, they can take steps to ensure that they are able to raise their children within their own religious beliefs. A parent with legal custody gets to make the choice about a child’s religious upbringing and a divorce lawyer should be consulted for help securing the right to make this important choice.
Catholic Church and the Rules on Divorce
Under current church rules, a divorced Catholic who remarries without getting the marriage annulled through the church is not permitted to take Communion and is considered to be living in sin.
It is important to recognize that an annulment through the church is very different from legal annulment of a marriage. A legal annulment of a marriage is available under limited circumstances and it means that the marriage will be null and void, as if it has never taken place. For example, if someone married when he was not of sound mind, his marriage may be annulled under the law. If someone married when he or she already had a spouse, his marriage will be annulled under the law.
The Catholic church, however, has different rules and requirements for annulment, and the process can be very expensive. As a result, many people who are legally divorced are deterred from going through the Catholic annulment process. This results in an inability to fully participate in their religion.
According to the Huffington Post, there are myriad proponents of reforming the rules that the Catholic church currently has in place when it comes to divorce. A German Cardinal is one of the leading proponents of reform, but there are many proposals that are designed to help fully integrate divorced and remarried Catholics into church life.
The proposed changes will be addressed at a meeting of the Vatican, called a synod. The purpose of the synod is to consider changes in family life that have taken place in the modern world. However, there are also strong opponents of reform, including conservative Cardinals who are in leadership positions on the high court of the Vatican.
Regardless of the decision the church makes, it will not have an impact on state laws regarding divorce or annulment. Religion is separate from a legal divorce, although parents may need to address the issue of a child’s upbringing in a custody agreement or a parenting plan that is created at the time when the legal marriage ends.
Contact Bertolino LLP at 512-717-5432 to schedule a consultation with an Austin, TX divorce lawyer today. Serving Austin and surrounding suburbs including Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown and San Marcos.