Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Covenant Marriage: An Upgrade on 'Regular' Marriage

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I found another article that I thought you'd find interesting. The official launch of this blog is quickly approaching and this article is simply appropriate and a great entree' for this audience.

ENJOY!!!! Then share your thoughts.

When a man and a woman are ready to make a commitment to one another they take the final step, marriage.

Or at least that used to be the only option. Now they can choose to have a marriage (including civil and religious), or a covenant marriage.

Most people know what a marriage entails, a man and a woman of age are joined in a legal contract that can be broken by either party. There are benefits to taking such a step, including tax benefits, government benefits and employment benefits.

What additional benefits are there for a covenant marriage? More tax breaks? Additional government/employment benefits? Not quite.

What then is the reason for covenant marriages? It is intended to fight divorce, renew commitment, and "strengthen families." A covenant marriage is more difficult to dissolve than a "regular" marriage. An existing marriage can be "upgraded" to a Covenant Marriage.

There are 8 reasons a court can grant a divorce to a couple in a covenant marriage.
1. A spouse commits adultery.
2. A spouse commits a felony committed and sentenced to death or imprisonment.
3. A spouse abandoned by the other for at least 1 year before filing
4. Physical or sexual abuse of spouse, child, a relative of either spouse permanently living with them, or domestic violence/emotional abuse.
5. The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for at least two years before the filing for divorce.
6. The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for at least one year from the date of a legal separation.
7. A spouse has habitually abused drugs or alcohol.
8. The husband and wife both agree to a dissolution of marriage.

The reasons for a legal separation are a little different, but also limited.

In addition to the normal regulations for marriage, a couple wishing to enter a covenant marriage must receive pre-marital counseling from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor, and sign a "declaration" indicating their intent.

The declaration reads as follows:

We solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for as long as they both live. We have chosen each other carefully and have received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes and responsibilities of marriage. We understand that a covenant marriage is for life. If we experience marital difficulties,we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling.
Covenant marriages (in the U.S.) started in Louisiana in 1987, and have since spread to Arizona and Arkansas.

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