Covenant Marriages and Divorce


If you're thinking about filing for divorce in Pasadena, you might come across the term "covenant marriage" and wonder what it means.

A covenant marriage is a special type of marriage in which the couple has to fulfill more stringent requirements before they can receive a legal marriage license. The purpose of the covenant marriage is to promote the sanctity of the institution of marriage and to reduce the overall divorce rate by making sure couples aren't jumping into marriage before fully thinking about what the commitment will mean. Premarital counseling is usually required to make sure the couple has thought adequately about issues such as the desire for children and how to handle key financial decisions. You don't have to be practicing a specific religion to obtain a covenant marriage, although it is true that the majority of people who request a covenant marriage do so for religious reasons.

In addition to being harder to obtain, a covenant marriage makes it harder for the couple to divorce. In a standard marriage agreement, general incompatibility is an acceptable reason for divorce. In a covenant marriage, grounds for divorce are limited to domestic violence, a felony with jail time, or adultery. However, this only applies if the couple files for divorce in a state that recognizes the validity of a covenant marriage. If they divorce in a state that does not recognize covenant marriages, there are no special factors to consider.

Louisiana began to recognize covenant marriages in 1997. Arkansas and Arizona also recognize covenant marriages. California has considered legislation to recognize a covenant marriage, but these efforts have yet to be successful. So, even if you obtained a covenant marriage before moving to California, this should not cause problems with your Pasadena divorce. However, an experienced family law attorney can address any specific concerns that you might have regarding this issue.