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For many couples, divorce is both a legal and a religious matter. Faith can guide whether or not couples get divorced in the first place — and how divorce proceedings ultimately play out. In our blog series on religious divorce, we’ll examine the interplay of civil and faith-based divorces.

When Divorce Is Not Allowed

Some religious groups regard all divorces — through the state, in the church, or otherwise — as illegitimate. In the Roman Catholic Church, for example, a properly officiated marriage is regarded as eternal. Divorces are therefore not recognized, even if they’re legally obtained. Under select circumstances, however, couples may be granted annulments.

While some religions clearly frown on divorce, adherents may pursue civil dissolution in spite of their convictions. These couples may not be divorced in the eyes of their faith, but their civil arrangements remain legally valid.

Perceptions of Divorce

Some faiths see a clear divide between how divorce is supposed to play out (or not) and how it is perceived by the public. For example, research indicates that, while conservative protestants frown on divorce, they are also more likely to divorce than those involved with other Christian denominations. The reverse can also occur; those who take a more neutral approach to divorce sometimes see surprisingly low divorce rates. For example, while Buddhism places no restrictions on divorce, data from the Pew Research Center suggests that just 10 percent of American Buddhists are divorced.

As you deal with the religious implications of your divorce, let the compassionate team at the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. handle your most pressing legal concerns. Call today to learn more about our empathetic approach to family law.