The Law of God
- One flesh- Gn. 2:24, I Co. 7:3,4
- Joined by God- Mt. 19:6
- Q: OT: polygamy, concubines- Abraham, David
- NT: husband of one wife-
- Contrary to God’s will- Mal. 2:16, Mt. 5:31, 32; 19:9, Mk. 10:11,
- Lu. 16:18, I Co. 7:11
- O.T. Moses’ certificate (Dt. 24:1-4) not a command but a concession
- (Mt. 19:8)
- Adultery- breaks the marriage bond (one-flesh)
- Desertion by unbelieving spouse (“Pauline privilege”)- 1 Co.7:15
The Law of Man
- NJ Divorce Act of 1794
- Framework- secular, not canon law; courts of “chancery” or “equity”, not ecclesiastical
- Grounds- adultery (per English canon) and desertion (new- 7 years)
- Blackwell Act of 1924- added extreme cruelty (6 months)
- Case Law Prior to No-Fault (1794-1971)
- Desertion- “willful, continued and obstinate”, can be constructive
- Defenses- recrimination (or “comparative rectitude”), unclean hands, condonation
- NJ Divorce Reform Act of 1971
- New ground (added to others)- No fault (18 month separation, no “reasonable prospect of a reconciliation”)
- Desertion shortened from 2 years to 1 and cruelty from 6 months to 3
- Fault defenses eliminated
- Fault eliminated as a factor in equitable distribution
- Fault eliminated from alimony determinations and custody awards (by court opinions)
- Combat secularization of divorce law?
- Fault principles (i.e. biblical standards) were appropriate in 1794 because reflected cultural norms
- Return to fault principles in 2005 may violate “establishment clause” of First Amendment
- “Covenant Marriage” laws
- Expand (or restore) the role of the church?
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