Collaborative Divorce Minnesota > Toward A Theology Of Divorce

Posted on July 24, 2013


From Judith H. Johnson, J.D., and Audra L. Holbeck, J.D.:

Separation and divorce are a fact of life today, as much as they were in the times of the ancient Israelites. Given this fact, what should be the attitude of the Christian community toward what has become the authority of the secular courts?

First, we must realize that whether or not there are scriptural grounds for divorce under ancient Jewish tradition (infidelity), the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount make the powerful point that we all have failed to measure up to God’s standards. As Paul states in his Letter to the Romans, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23,24).

Second, if husband and wife are brother and sister in faith, they should look to New Testament teachings about the wisdom of litigation – and do everything they can to resolve their disputes respectfully and with dignity – outside of court. If they agree that divorce must be considered, they should take care to provide a minimal amount of information to the public court file (not only for reasons of their faith, but also to protect their financial identity from criminal theft).

Third, if a separating or divorcing couple needs help to sort through their financial and parenting decisions, they should look for methods of private dispute resolution to facilitate settlement.

There are several opportunities for methods of “Alternate Dispute Resolution” which are available to separating and divorcing couples, which support private resolution of all issues. Among these are mediation, and Collaborative Practice. Collaborative Practice is a team approach to decision making in cases of separation and divorce which is now available throughout the United States and in Canada, Great Britain and Australia. It involves a holistic approach to problem solving for the entire family. Attorneys, child psychologists, adult psychologists and financial analysts who engage in Collaborative Practice all receive special training in dispute resolution in order to assist all family members in meeting their needs. Collaborative Practice is an ecumenical organization which acknowledges the importance of spiritual concerns in cases of separation or divorce, and involves practitioners from many faith backgrounds. The authors of this article are an Evangelical Christian (Judy Johnson) and a Catholic Christian (Audra Holbeck), who are Collaborative Practice attorneys from the Minneapolis-St.Paul area of Minnesota, as well as trained Divorce Care leaders.

Read more at Collaborative Divorce Minnesota.