You both walked down the aisle with idea that this was forever. You didn’t have to choose a covenant marriage—you both chose it because you not only wanted to get married, you wanted another level of commitment that would mean a divorce was not going to be an easy to come by.
While others chose a non-covenant marriage that allows them to divorce simply by proving that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you chose to limit your options.
When your dreams end
But, now it’s happened: Your spouse has been having an affair for over a year. Shocked that this could even be happening, you first tried to look the other way. When it became too blatant to ignore, you tried getting counseling.
For better or worse, your spouse refused to change and seemed unable to give up the other relationship. You’ve been separated now for over a year and while this is never the path you would have chosen, you would like to move on with your life. But, will the law let you?
No-fault vs. at-fault
Covenant marriage was codified as an answer to “no-fault” divorce. The idea behind the legislation was to offer couples the option to make a “quick” dissolution difficult to obtain. While covenant marriages are more challenging to dissolve, it is not impossible.
There are several grounds on which a covenant marriage can be ended. If both parties agree to the divorce, the court will grant it. If, however, one spouse does not agree to the divorce, the person seeking it must prove one of the following:
- Abuse—sexual or physical
- Legal separation of at least one year
- Living separately for at least two years prior to filing for divorce
- Imprisonment of the other spouse for a felony, or sentenced to death
These requirements are tough and can be difficult to prove. Obviously it is easiest if both parties agree to the divorce. But if one party refuses, it does not mean a divorce cannot be granted.