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Religion and Divorce

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Religion and Divorce

Many countries in Europe had prohibited divorce, as it is not allowed by the Catholic Church. Sometimes citizens travelled to other jurisdictions to obtain a divorce. No Catholic Church will remarry divorced persons, unless they previously have their marriage annulled, which is only possible in some circumstances. In Islam it is permissible to divorce, in the Islamic law and marital jurisprudence, divorce is accepted and referred to as talaq. Indian religions do not accept divorce.


Most Christian churches treat divorce negatively; however, different Christian denominations vary in their toleration of it. The Roman Catholic Church treats all consummated sacramental marriages as permanent during the life of the spouses, and therefore does not allow remarriage after a divorce if the other spouse still lives and the marriage has not been annulled. However, divorced Catholics are still welcome to participate fully in the life of the church so long as they have not remarried against church law, and the Catholic Church generally requires civil divorce or annulment procedures to have been completed before it will consider annulment cases. Other Christian denominations, including the Eastern Orthodox Church and many Protestant churches, will allow both divorce and remarriage even with a surviving former spouse, at least under certain conditions. In societies that practiced Puritanism, divorce was allowed if one partner in the marriage was not completely satisfied with the other, and remarriage was also allowed.

Bible commentary on divorce comes primarily from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the epistles of Paul. Jesus taught on the subject of divorce in three of the Gospels, and Paul gives a rather extensive treatment of the subject in his First Epistle to the Corinthians chapter 7: "Let not the wife depart from her husband...let not the husband put away his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:10-11), but he also includes the Pauline privilege. He again alludes to his position on divorce in his Epistle to the Romans, albeit an allegory, when he states "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth. . . . So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress" (Romans 7:2-3).

In Great Commission. Since Deuteronomy 24:1-4 did not give Jewish women the right to directly initiate a divorce (See critical of the Pharisees.

Indian Religions

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in India does have provisions for divorce under some circumstances.

Buddhism has no religious concept of marriage (See Buddhist view of marriage). In Buddhism, marriage is a secular affair, subject to local customs.


Main article: Divorce in Islam

In Islam, divorce is allowed. Islam considers marriage to be a legal contract; and the act of obtaining a divorce is essentially the act of legally dissolving the contract.

In Islamic law and marital jurisprudence, divorce is accepted and referred to as talaq.[1] However, divorce is considered the most hated of all lawful things in the sight of Allah.[2]

In the medieval Islamic world and the Ottoman Empire, the rate of divorce was higher than it is today in the modern Middle East, which now has generally low rates of divorce.[3] In 15th century Egypt, Al-Sakhawi recorded the marital history of 500 women, the largest sample on marriage in the Middle Ages, and found that at least a third of all women in the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria married more than once, with many marrying three or more times. According to Al-Sakhawi, as many as three out of ten marriages in 15th century Cairo ended in divorce.[4] In the early 20th century, some villages in western Java and the Malay peninsula had divorce rates as high as 70%.[3]

According to Sharia law, if a man initiates the divorce, there is a required waiting period of three period for a normal lady otherise for them who has some problem in periods and one can not examine then the time period is 3 months. There are steps of divorce not like that a man is allowed to say 3 in one times then that is his mistake and there is no relation to Islam of that mistake he did. A man must announce his intentions, in the presence of two qualified witnesses, effectively "divorcing", but still honor his obligations towards his wife (i.e. feed and clothe her) - during which time the couple can reconcile. If the woman is pregnant with the son of that man then she can only leave the house of that man only when she has given birth. This period of stay is called the idaat period. If he completes the three-month period, still intent on separating from his wife, then the marriage no longer exists. If a woman initiates divorce, she doesn't have to wait for the three-month period; rather she must take the husband to court, where, depending on the situation, the marriage will be terminated upon certain conditions.


Judaism has always accepted divorce as a fact of life, though an unfortunate one: e.g., see Deuteronomy chapters 22 and 24. Judaism generally maintains that it is better for a couple to divorce than to remain together in a state of bitterness and strife. It is said that shalom bayit (domestic harmony) is a desirable state.

In general, it is accepted that for a Jewish divorce to be effective the husband must hand to the wife, and not vice versa, a bill of divorcement, called a get, which also acts as proof of the divorce. From ancient times, the get was considered to be very important to show all those who needed to have proof that the woman was in fact free from the previous marriage and free to remarry. In Jewish law, besides other things, the consequences of a woman remarrying and having a child while still legally married to another is profound: the child would be a mamzer, to be avoided at any cost. Also, the woman would be committing adultery should she remarry while still legally married to another. An enactment called Herem de-Rabbenu Gershom (literally, the proscription of Rabbenu Gershom)--accepted universally throughout European Jewish communities—prohibited a husband from divorcing his wife against her will.

In Jewish law divorce is an act of the parties to the marriage, which is different from the approach adopted by many other legal systems. That is, a Jewish divorce does not require a decree from a court. The function of the court, in the absence of agreement between the parties, is to decide whether the husband should be compelled to give the get or for the wife to accept the get. But, notwithstanding any such ruling, the parties remain married until such time as the husband actually delivers the get.

Jewish law, in effect, does not require proof or even an allegation of moral or other fault by either party. In the first place, as noted above, if both parties agree to a divorce and follow the prescribed procedure, then the court would not need to establish responsibility for the marriage break-down. In the second place, if either party does not wish to continue co-habiting with the other is sufficient grounds for divorce. (Anything else, it is said, would amount to rape of the woman.) In this sense it is a "no-fault" approach to divorce. This approach has been accepted for thousands of years . It was the approach advocated by followers of Hillel, a very influential school of thought in ancient Judea, which predated the current era. This is the approach which is now generally accepted in most, if not all, Jewish communities around the world.

On the other hand, the refusal of a husband to give his wife a get (the document) can be for purely vindictive or even extortion motives. This situation has resulted in numerous social problems in modern times. For example, where pre-nuptial agreements are enforceable in civil courts, appropriate provisions may be made to compel the giving of the get by the husband in the event of a civil divorce being obtained. A woman who has been refused a get is typically referred to as an "agunah".

A wife can initiate a divorce process on several grounds (including lack of satisfaction in her sexual life). However, this right extends only so far as petitioning a court to force her husband to divorce her. Also see Jewish Attitude Toward Divorce.[5] and Get in the Conflict of Laws.

Furthermore, from the philosophical and mystical point of view, divorce is a unique procedure of tremendous importance and complexity, because it nullifies the holiest of connections that can exist in the Universe (similar to a connection between a person and God). Because of the danger of the birth of illegitimate children (mamzerim) if the process is not performed properly, and because divorce law is extraordinarily complex, the process is generally supervised by experts.



The Wiccan equivalent of a divorce is described as a handparting. Wiccans traditionally see either a high priest or high priestess to discuss things out before a divorce.[6] However a handfasting (marriage) that falls apart peacefully does not necessarily need a handparting.[7]

Unitarian Universalism

In Unitarian Universalism, divorce is allowed and should be a decision by the individual person and is seen as ending a rite of passage. Such divorces have sometimes taken the form of divorce rituals as far back as the 1960s. Divorces are largely seen as a life choice.[8]



  • Amato, Paul R. and Alan Booth. A Generation at Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval. Harvard University Press, 1997. [1]
  • Gallagher, Maggie. "The Abolition of Marriage." Regnery Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-89526-464-1.
  • Lester, David. "Time-Series Versus Regional Correlates of Rates of Personal Violence." Death Studies 1993: 529-534.
  • McLanahan, Sara and Gary Sandefur. Growing Up with a Single Parent; What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994: 82.
  • Morowitz, Harold J. "Hiding in the Hammond Report." Hospital Practice August 1975; 39.
  • Office for National Statistics (UK). Mortality Statistics: Childhood, Infant and Perinatal, Review of the Registrar General on Deaths in England and Wales, 2000, Series DH3 33, 2002.
  • U.S. Bureau of the Census. Marriage and Divorce. General US survey information. [2]
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Survey of Divorce [3] (link obsolete).
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