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Hoge Partners, PLLC
First Trust Centre
Suite 400 South

200 South Fifth Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Fax:  (502) 583-1223
Phone:  (502) 583-2005

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Reconciling Faith, Religion and Divorce

None of the lawyers in our firm are ministers and we don't pretend to be.  We are Family Law attorneys whose goal is to protect our clients' interests when divorce is unavoidable.

If you are looking for religious advice about getting a divorce, this is not the place you need to be. If you need religious counseling, please talk to your priest, your pastor, your minister, your elders, your rabbi or your imam.

But, please, we implore you . . . Don't rely on your spiritual advisors for legal advice!

We have been involved in helping people reach resolution of many traditional Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Bahá'í and even Hindu and Buddhist divorces.  We are very respectful of religious and cultural sensitivities, traditions and doctrinal concerns.  We certainly will support you in your need to accommodate your religious beliefs, wisdom traditions and cultural diversity.

We recognize that many people believe that God hates divorce. But, if you are a religious individual and a divorce appears inevitable, you need an attorney who has spent years learning how to protect his or her clients' interest in a divorce action.

A competent Family Law attorney can help you through the legal turmoil of a divorce while protecting your interests as well as those of your children.

We can help you craft a parenting plan that will protect the interests of the children as well as working toward a fair and equity settlement that will hopefully address the financial needs of the disadvantaged spouse.

The right Family Law attorney can help a battered spouse seek protection from an abuser and protect innocent victims from further abuse or neglect. If one spouse is battling drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling or other addictions, a competent Family Law attorney can help protect the other spouse from financial ruin.

Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Buddist, Muslim, Bahá'í and Hindu  faiths may have their own distinct requirements for recognizing or acknowledging a civil divorce action.  For instance, observant Jewish women are required to obtain a get or "bill of divorce" from their husbands so they can remarry after a divorce.  In the Catholic faith, a Decree of Nullity may be required in order to receive communion after a divorce.  Generally speaking, the Islamic faith does not recognize civil divorce whatsoever.

Divorce should always be the last option for people with a troubled marriage. We strongly encourage our clients to pursue therapy or marriage counseling to address emotional issues. We are always happy to see our clients attempt reconciliation and recommend they try this before filing for divorce.

Legal separation is an option not everyone considers when contemplating the breakup of a marriage. With a legal separation, the parties are still technically married though they may establish separate households and a division of assets and liabilities which can protect both parties' interests. Legally separated spouses cannot remarry until their Decree of Legal Separation has been converted into a Decree of Dissolution, which can only happen after a 365-day waiting period.  On the other hand, the Decree of Legal Separation can remain unaltered indefinitely if the parties agree.

Our office has done many legal separations over years, many of which were for Christian couples who did not believe in divorce but who decided that they could no longer live together as man and wife. If a legal separation might be appropriate for your situation, please see our webpage on that subject for additional information.

Another alternative to divorce is an annulment, which nullifies the marriage altogether.  Annulments can only be granted in specific circumstances where there has been an element of fraud or coercion or perhaps the post-nuptial discovery that the parties are related by blood, etc.

But, if, for example, you learn that your spouse cannot or refuses to have children, you learn your husband or wife is still legally married to someone else, you learn your spouse was a minor when you got married, or if the marriage was performed under force or due to a fraud perpetrated against you, then you may have grounds to have the marriage annuledIf an annulment might be appropriate for your situation, please see our webpage on that subject for additional information.

A divorce is always regrettable and should only be viewed as a last resort. But, if there were no divorce laws, people would be abandoning their spouses left and right, leaving tremendous wreckage in their wake. Divorce laws are necessary to minimize the harm to innocent and disadvantaged family members when a marriage breaks down. They are necessary to decide child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, division of assets and division of liabilities.

If you're looking at the prospect of divorce and you want to protect yourself and your children while still maintaining your religious values, please talk to us about how we can help you achieve those goals under genuinely unfortunate circumstances.

Divorce is painful but it doesn't have to destroy the survivors.  Talk to us about how we can help you achieve your goals in pursuing your divorce, legal separation or annulment while preserving your integrity, dignity and spiritual values.