How Disgusting Is This ??

by Standerinfamilycourt

CallUs-Disgusting

You’ve heard of “ambulance chasers” ?   Well, how about distressed-marriage vultures ??

Apparently, it’s possible to cross state lines and shop for an easier, sleazier divorce in some states.   That’s actually how it used to be before the days of so-called “divorce reform” that wound up redefining marriage altogether.   This “reform” sunk all of American society to its lowest (or so we all thought) common denominator.

Some states, as far back as the 1800’s,  saw the opportunity for destruction of out-of-state families as a lucrative industry to exploit.     This attitude will likely have to be dealt with once again as more states re-assess the toxic impact on our society, re-thinking the social wreckage left by unilateral divorce, and looking to return to more family-friendly policies.

(Texas ad: “It’s a whole ‘nother rodeo out here.” )

The feared cross-state impact of repealing unilateral divorce is probably also one of the most formidable legislative and judicial obstacles  to restoring basic 1st and 14th Amendment Constitutional guarantees that were stripped from the politically disfavored and disenfranchised class of Americans called “Respondents”.

“Family Law” firms should not be allowed to reach across states lines to increase social malaise and instability for crass commercial purposes!   (It seems that such a practice qualifies as interstate commerce – and should be regulated as such at the Federal level. )

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

Why No One Is Married

FB profile 7xtjw Standerinfamilycourt Blog Commentary:  Mr. Truncellito is the Texas attorney written about in the book “Stolen Vows” by Judy Parejko.   Mr. Truncellito’s research into the Texas statute after unilateral divorce was enacted exposed a fraud, but to no avail.   The original enactment of the Texas “no-fault” law was to be by mutual consent only.   However, the legal community conspired to implement it as unilateral divorce.  Mr. Truncellito appealed his case up through the Texas Supreme Court based on his investigation, but failed to win relief for the people of Texas, with the final determination entered in November, 2000.

 

Ed Truncellito, J.D., September 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage today is no more than “registered cohabitation” because no-fault divorce was misinterpreted as “no cause and no proof” divorce. If you can divorce without true cause–then you were not truly married in the first place. You were merely cohabiting, as in ages past, regardless what name it’s called.

You could always walk away from a disagreeable cohabitation, but marriage was defined in its protection by law. You couldn’t get out of a marriage just because you wanted out. You had to have true cause: abuse, adultery, abandonment, or the like. And not only cause, but genuine proof of it.

When the well-meaning no-faulters tried to take adversarialism out of the divorce process, to make it friendly, it failed. The door swung wide open to “no cause and no proof” divorce. Meanwhile, adversarialism went right back into the property and custody battles.

The old “fault” laws needed overhaul to bring spousal equality, and to make the system friendlier, but no-fault’s “no cause and no proof” divorce, administered by warring lawyers, was the wrong implementation. The law should have required that spouses be taught how, and helped, to settle differences as co-equals, to deliberate justly and fairly, with self-control, while honoring their partner and the vows they made for a permanent union.

Beforehand, almost any man could rule his wife and settle disputes by physical force. But spousal equality demands at least a little education, a working knowledge of civilized diplomacy and reasoned compromise — for both genders.

The no-fault laws did not train the partners to solve any problems. The laws simply — and grievously — empowered the courts to settle all their disputes for them, in one grand sweep, by divorce, no matter how whimsical or trivial the disagreement. No-fault did not elevate the status of wives as co-equal family managers. It lowered the status of both spouses, while it elevated the courts as the new, and not-so-charitable, family managers.

The no-fault divorce system, as implemented, funded divorce. It channeled money from troubled families to divorce lawyers, now at hourly rates in three digits, in exchange for dividing children and property. The court’s officers were hired and paid to terminate marriages, not to save them.

The no-fault legal system, as envisioned, was to be a family hospital, to comfort the hurting spouses and bandage the wounded marriages. Instead, it became a family morgue. It promised to give relief from the former hostilities of the “fault” legal system, but it became more hostile than ever.

Reconciliation dollars, facilities, and assistance were promised, but they never materialized. A generation and a half later, we know that the experiment did not work as planned.

In truth, our no-fault laws, as implemented, abolished true marriage. After many years of no-fault, we no longer even respect the solemn covenants that partners make between themselves and God. Instead, we respect the solemn covenants that lawyers make between themselves and a judge.

Although cohabitation is handicapped in many ways, it unfortunately has one important advantage: ordinary cohabitation keeps government out of the home. In contrast, the registered cohabitation that we still call marriage invokes the jurisdiction of government officers. They receive authority to manage the lives of both spouses and their children with legal force.

No wonder people cohabit. No wonder we have so many broken homes. Partners can walk away from the slightest inconvenience, at any time, with court assistance. They don’t ever have to conciliate, or swallow their pride and say they are sorry, or try to please anyone but themselves.

When divorce was made into a guaranteed certainty, it became an easy way out of hard times. Partners knew they would no longer be pressed by embarrassing questions about covenants and faithfulness, as they moved on to their next cohabitation. Nor could they be stopped.

The fundamental attribute, the unique defining characteristic, the earmark, that always distinguished true marriage from cohabitation, is legal security — protection by law — protection by divorce law.

Today, that protection is gone. Genuine proof of true cause was always required for divorce, and anything else — but that — should have changed in an overhaul of divorce law.

It is one thing to let spouses decide, without intrusion, for their own private reasons, whether to live together, or to live apart indefinitely. But it is another thing altogether, for government not to question the cause, when government has already intervened, when government is asked to destroy a marriage, totally and permanently.

The legal security of true marriage cannot be a chain. But neither can it be a thread. It must be a sturdy fabric, a flexible but tough canvas, to weather the gales of life.

That’s why true marriage is so secure and stable for mates. When spouses cannot easily shake off their yoke, they soften it by mutual accommodation. In other words: spouses don’t stay together because they get along; they get along because they stay together.

And that’s why true marriage is so secure and stable for children. True marriage is underwritten by law. Children can rest assured that no passing storm will carry either of their parents away. They know that the whole force of government stands as a benevolent guard to protect their homes and both of their providers.

We are not in the midst of a divorce crisis. It is a marriage crisis.

No one is married, and no one can marry. The right to marry was taken away.

The happy voices of the bride and the bridegroom are gone from our land.

Attorney Ed Truncellito spent over 1,500 hours researching the legislation that created “no-fault” divorce in Texas in 1969. He found that the law was meant only to apply to uncontested divorces. He has filed suit against the State Bar of Texas, alleging that they, like the tobacco industry, covered up what they knew to be a destructive product, and that the State Bar knew all along that the no-fault law was being misapplied but covered it up for financial gain. See Mr. Truncellito’s website at www.no-one-is-married.com. His email address is no_one_is_married@juno.com (use underscores).

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

Bonhoeffer on Marriage

FB profile 7xtjw  Ah, if only this stander had been so eloquent on the witness stand in pouring God’s truth over the System’s lie of “irreconcilable

differences” !

 

God is guiding your marriage. Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which He wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. bonhoeffer  In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to His glory, and calls into His kingdom.  In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal – it is a status, an office. dietrich_bonhoeffer-grossJust as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king,  so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. dietrich_bonhoefferAs you first gave the ring to one another and have now received it a second time from the hand of the pastor, so love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. bonhoeffer (2)As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity the rights, and the promise of marriage above the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love.dietrich-bonhoeffer-1 It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.  God makes your marriage indissoluble. ‘What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Matthew 19:6). God joins you together in marriage; it is His act, not yours. Dietrich BonhoefferDo not confound your love for one another with God.  God makes your marriage indissoluble, and protects it from every danger that may threaten it from within and without; He wills to be the guarantor of its indissolubility. bonhoeffer12It is a blessed thing to know that no power on earth, no temptation, no human frailty can dissolve what God holds together; indeed, anyone who knows that may say confidently: What God has joined together, can no man put asunder.pastor_bonhoeffer Free from all anxiety that is always a characteristic of love, you can now say to each other with complete and confident assurance: We can never lose each other now; by the will of God we belong to each other till death.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUCKING “NO-FAULT” DIVORCE: CONSTITUTIONAL CASE HISTORY IN THE U.S. 1970-Present – Part 2

IlSupCtBg

by  Standerinfamilycourt

Part 2 – 2000 – 2014    (Part 1 – 1970-1999)

 

       Pharisees:  “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”

But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?  Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius.   And He said to them, Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  They  said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them,  “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 22:17-21

 

Blogger’s Note:   the discussion that follows reflects only my own research and independent thought, and does not necessarily reflect the advice of my attorneys.

God said let Us make mankind in Our image.   He created marriage to bear the image of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, including its permenance.   Marriage, therefore, cannot bear “Caesar’s”  image and cannot “belong” to the State.   Everything the God of Angel Armies said about marriage is contrary to everything the State now decrees, to devalue marriage and distort its true purpose.

 

 

Standerinfamilycourt  began Part 1 of this post by relating the story of the train ride downtown with my divorce attorney to consult for the first time with the constitutional law attorneys whom we hoped would agree to take our religious freedom case.   We had just received notice and copy of a response motion by opposing counsel in the property division trial, and we were going over it in the hour it took the train to reach downtown Chicago.   According to my attorney, this opposing document  was filed rather superfluously, in response to a motion we had filed as a formality to reserve our right to bring our anticipated constitutional appeal.   I was stunned to see the following assertion in that document, though perhaps it didn’t shock my attorney:

“…Petitioner affirmatively states that by the Respondent’s logic, one could use their religious convictions to delay or defeat or enhance any law, just by arguing religion.   The Courts have reaffirmed the traditional doctrine that marriage is a civil contract between three parties: the husband, the wife, and the State.   If the parties were allowed to use religious arguments or feelings to obviate, obfuscate, or obliterate the provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, then the entire system would fall to the whims or beliefs of 11 million people.” 

(Obviously, there’s at least one liberally-minded attorney who needs to crack out her copy of Illinois’  very brief Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or her Bible – preferably, both!    I’d love to know which state my covenant husband and I  were supposedly “wed” to,  since we don’t originally hail from Illinois, and we were married by our pastor in a state that didn’t adopt unilateral divorce until 2010.      – And, since there’s an Omnipotent Creator Authority and Righteous Judge in heaven to whom marriage sovereignly does belong,  may the entire system indeed fall! )

A couple of religious freedom cases follow from Texas and Ohio, and an oddball Tennessee case from 2014 where some folks, who weren’t married in God’s (or that state’s) eyes to begin with, were clamoring for a divorce.

 

7.  Truncellito v Truncellito, Texas (2000)     Sup  Ct of TX 00-826

Texas is a very colorful state in which to study this topic of history.   Many states saw the enormous flaws and inequities in UMDA, and legislators were understandably reluctant to enact it verbatim.   In addition to rejecting the standard “irreconcilable differences” language, the Texas legislature also rejected the notion that the “no-fault” process was appropriate where one of the spouses (with clean hands) did not want to end the marriage.  In other words, they voted to maintain the balance of fundamental rights to liberty, property and autonomy of family life free from court intrusion, by not allowing the courts to apply “no-fault” unless the petition was mutual or uncontested.

Herein lies the unexamined difference between unilateral (involuntary or forced) and “no-fault” (mutual and voluntary).   Using the latter interchangeably with the former and comparing the result to a car insurance policy is intellectually dishonest.   This is another one of those false analogies so prevalent in immoral social movements and their resulting legislation.

The Texas no-fault grounds language reads: “On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

Mr. Truncellito was a divorce attorney who was the Respondent in his wife’s 1998 unilateral petition.   Mr. Truncellito was representing a client,  another contesting Respondent husband, when he discovered that the transcribed statute did not match the enacted statute which expressly provided for “no-fault” grounds only in non-contested cases, otherwise, the requirement for fault-based grounds still applied.

Truncellito brought an appeal of his own divorce decree on that technical basis, which was overruled in the appellate court, and that decision was affirmed by the Texas Supreme Court.

FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC  Commentary:  In her book, “Stolen Vows” and in subsequent published articles, author Judy Parejko commented on the strong economic interests in the Texas legal community in ensuring there was strict unilateral application of the “no-fault” law, rather than the voluntary application the legislature intended.   Surrounded by states with strict unilateral divorce laws, there was an economic fear that clients would be lost to out-of-state divorce travel.  The situation is totally opposite today, with Texas attorneys actively advertising to poach clients from states who are re-thinking unilateral divorce.)

 

8.  Waite v Waite, Texas (2001)     C.A. 14th District, Houston

As noted above, the Texas no-fault grounds language reads: “On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

The constitutional challenge brought by the Respondent husband was a 1st Amendment Establishment Clause challenge alleging that the language and definitions in the statute are intrinsically religious and therefore entangle the court in areas where they should not be making inquiry.   Further, the challenge asserted that unilateral establishment of grounds violates the Free Exercise clause by requiring the court to interfere in a religious dispute, contending that the terms “legitimate ends of the marriage” and “reasonable expectation of reconciliation” have an unavoidable religious dimension.

There were additional challenges that were based on unique clauses in portions of the Texas constitution which are not analogous to other states or to the U.S. Constitution.   One of these challenges implied a due process complaint, but did not reference the 14th amendment.   The appeal also asserted that the “no-fault” proceedings violated the privacy of documents. These were all overruled, except for the privacy issue which the court said was not ripe for review because it was unclear which documents had been produced.

(There was no challenge brought in this case that the statute limited the “no-fault” proceedings to uncontested cases.   The Truncellito challenge had been dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court the year before, on November 22, 2000.)

The court applied rational basis review and held that it was bound to presume constitutionality upon the enacted law, disagreeing that a civil determination of the specific terms in the grounds required religious inquiry.

 

Highlights of Dissenting Opinion:   The dissenting judge concluded that because Texas courts have recognized marriage as having a religious component, the term “legitimate ends of the marital relationship” cannot be construed to exclude that religious aspect.   He went on to say that since the Respondent raised a “rights of conscience” issue.  The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) test should have been applied and the state been required to establish a compelling need for the language in question, and shown that they had undertaken the least restrictive means of meeting that interest.   He concurred with the state’s authority to enact a “no-fault” law (as possibly contrasted with a unilateral law), but the state had to do so while complying with the First Amendment.

Per the 2-judge majority:

Although courts may observe as a factual matter that some individuals have religious beliefs concerning their marriages, and although courts are bound to protect every individual’s rights to have such beliefs, courts certainly could not make, and have not made, any legal decision regarding whether marriage has a religious component because that is neither a legal issue nor a matter that courts may constitutionally decide, contrary to the dissent’s numerous references to marriage as “a relationship that Texas case law recognizes as religious in nature,” to marriage as being characterized by our state courts as a divine institution ordained by God, to “a wealth of Texas jurisprudence characterizing ․ marriage as having a religious component,” and the like.

The Dissent:

Because the court rejects Mr. Waite’s state constitutional challenge under the “rights of conscience” guaranty of Article I, Section 6, I respectfully dissent.  See Davenport v. Garcia, 834 S.W.2d 4, 11 (Tex.1992).   The court should not reach Mr. Waite’s challenges under the United States Constitution because the statute violates the Texas Constitution.  I concur in the court’s disposition of both Mr. Waite’s challenges to the award of attorney’s fees and all of his challenges to the Texas no-fault divorce statute under the Texas Constitution, except for his challenge under the “rights of conscience” guaranty in Article I, Section 6.  For reasons explained below, I agree with Mr. Waite that the no-fault divorce statute violates this provision of our state constitution by impermissibly interfering with Texans’ rights of conscience in matters of religion.

 

FB profile 7xtjw ( SIFC commentary: The religious conscience violation in this case was not tied with any punitive treatment by the court that directly led to wrongful impairment of property rights, as occurred in our case, but the dissenting opinion held the Respondent’s free exercise guarantee to be in direct conflict with the granting of a unilateral divorce because such judgment violated the Respondent’s right of conscience.   [Loud whistling applause from this blogger! ]   This judge showed uncommon insight in drawing a distinction between the state’s remit to establish a consensual “no fault” process, and the wholly unconstitutional practice of unilateral dissolution of marriage.   As a further note, this was a 3-judge panel, so this case could have gone either way.   Standerinfamilycourt believes the dissenting opinion was far better developed and informed than the majority opinion.  Those who oppose true free exercise are usually fine with letting people believe whatever they wish, but they often refuse to acknowledge a person’s 1st Amendment right to actually walk out that belief without suffering negative sanctions for doing so.)

 

9.  MacFarlane v MacFarlane, Ohio (2006)   8th District C.A. #3155

In this case where the husband filed a unilateral petition in 2003, the couple was Catholic and the wife had always home-schooled the four children.   The husband was not in agreement that the homeschooling continue once the children were high school age, and the resulting dispute between husband and wife escalated until the marriage deteriorated.

FB profile 7xtjw  (SIFC note:  Since the original writing of this blog, I have had the privilege of becoming acquainted with Mrs. MacFarlane, who now runs the very effective ministry known as Mary’s Advocates, and goes by the name Bai.    As commonly occurs in such cases, the judge writing the legal judgment is not completely accurate with all of the facts, and Bai has contacted us requesting a correction in the last sentence above, which was taken directly from the court document.    Here is Bai’s clarification sent to us:

[The judge had written this:  On pages 4 and 5 of this court document it reads as follows:

{¶ 4} As part of their religious beliefs and desire to have control over the education of their children, Husband and Wife agreed that their children would be home schooled.   Husband testified that he thought it would only be for their early school years and that eventually they would be put in a traditional school setting;  Wife, however, wanted the boys home schooled until adolescence or high school.

{¶ 6} Husband testified that sometime in 2000, he started talking to Wife about enrolling the children in a traditional school. He also discussed moving to Canada, where he had made friends with a group of like-minded Catholics who had started their own school for about eight families. From the outset of these discussions,  Wife was adamant that she did not want the children in a traditional school. This disagreement became a source of constant tension in the marriage.

Bai MacFarlane:  ” In the year 2000, our oldest child turned 9, so it is a little early to be arguing about adolescence or high school homeschooling, which I assert that we were not arguing about during that year.   When my husband abandoned the marital home, our oldest was 11 years-old which is still early to be arguing about high school homeschooling. Our youngest was 2.   From the Cuyahoga County court’s perspective, stay-at-home moms have to find work outside the home if the Plaintiff-Dad does not want to continue supporting his wife and children as he had been before abandoning marriage.  Our county also cannot tolerate children being taught a biblical-based view of marriage in which abandoning the home is equivalent to breaking the family.   See excerpt from court psychologist here.” ]

 

Both husband and wife filed for legal separation, then the husband amended his petition to seek a divorce.  After about a year’s proceedings, the wife started petitioning the court to defer the case to a canonical tribunal.   She asserted the Catholic Church had the authority over their marriage by the couple’s prior mutual agreement.

The husband sought custody of the children and wanted to put them in parochial schools.   Court records documented that both spouses had issues with erratic behavior, but custody was eventually awarded to the husband-Petitioner due to several hostile actions of the wife, some of which occurred in court.   The wife went through several attorneys and appears to have been poorly-advised,  since she acted in a way that,  per court procedures, forfeited her early rights to arbitration.   The wife’s appeal included a charge of religious discrimination on the basis the court decided custody in a way that precluded homeschooling for the children and, therefore, to raise them in the Catholic faith.   The wife’s appeal also alleged trial court antagonism toward the Catholic faith because it referred to her outspoken advocacy of homeschooling perjoratively as a “crusade”, and lastly that the court failed to undertake appropriate consideration of a pattern of domestic abuse by the husband in awarding custody of the children to the husband.

The appeals court ruled that since there was no written agreement between the spouses to yield any marriage issues to Church arbitration, the state had the sole jurisdiction.   They ruled divorce was appropriately granted, and custody appropriately awarded based on the recommendations of a court-appointed psychologist.   With regard to Ohio’s constitution clause on freedom of religion, it cites “freedom of worship” (rather than religious exercise) and contains a conscience clause.   The appeals court ruled that the court cannot consider religious preference in determining matters of custody, and that the court did not show preference between the husband’s beliefs and the wife’s, nor was it interfering with her freedom to continue to parent the children in her faith as the noncustodial parent.

The appeals court dismissed the wife’s allegation of court antagonism toward the Catholic faith.   With regard to her domestic abuse assertions, the appeals court found the wife to be the “less credible party” and ruled that the trial court did not abuse its discretion with regard to her domestic violence assertion, which aside from some controlling behavior by the husband, appeared to have been an isolated incident rather than a pattern.   The trial court was unanimously affirmed on all issues.

FB profile 7xtjw  (SIFC commentary: here’s a case where an inhumane law served nobody in the family, and probably did great damage to the children,  for all the court pontificating that took place about their welfare.  The presence of “acrimony” where, by unilateral theory, there isn’t supposed to be any invariably gets blamed on the person whose fundamental rights are being stripped away.   Both spouses had pre-existing serious emotional problems that were well-documented in the court record, but neither spouse was incentivized to get the treatment they both needed.   Had the law not been unilateral, there would have been far more incentive to seek much-needed individual and marital counseling through this couple’s well-established church connections.  Space should have been left for voluntary and informal church-based mediation without court involvement, which would have been more the case had fault still been required to be proven in order to dissolve the marriage. 

Nobody was emotionally abusing the children until divorce and forced separation of assets and custody was imposed.   It requires tremendous composure and inner grounding to remain stable during an imposed divorce that violates deep religious convictions, and nearly impossible for someone with a background of emotional instability.  In the total absence of adultery, substance abuse, or domestic violence, the state’s mangling of this family is truly tragic.

Additionally, Ohio’s constitution seems a bit weak in its reference to “worship” instead of free exercise, but it was what it was.   The wife’s access to religious protection under the stronger U.S. Constitution provision was probably out of reach,  since divorce cases usually aren’t heard in Federal courts, and then there remained the problem of sorting between the gray areas of disagreement between two Catholic parents.   Of note:  Ohio did not have a  Religious Freedom Restoration Act enacted at the time, but if it had, its application would likely have been moot unless Mrs. MacFarlane had asserted in a more effective way that the divorce itself was against her right of conscience and against the teaching of the Catholic church.  This whole case is just sad. )

 

10.  Borman v Pyles-Borman (Tennessee) 2014   Circuit Court, Roane County No. 2014CV36   

In a very different kind of equal protection case, two homosexuals who went to Iowa to get “married”, came back to Tennessee to live, and were now suing the state for the “right” to get a divorce.   They allege that the state is treating their relationship as a “second-class marriage” in not legally recognizing it for purposes of granting a divorce.   (Never mind that the plaintiffs themselves are treating their own “marriage” as a second-class relationship!)

The theory of the plaintiffs is that “doctrinal developments” have changed the precedent whereby the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling decided in 1972 on a “rational basis” standard that though there was a fundamental right to complementary marriage, no 14th Amendment right existed to state recognition of homosexual relationships.    One of those “doctrinal developments” seems to be that the state has reduced its purpose in recognizing and fostering the institution of marriage in purposeful protection of the natural family unit from generation to generation, to merely a registry of cohabitation (while it lasts).

“Equal protection” and “privacy”  in the eyes of many lower courts is the unfettered right of the individual to be as immoral as he or she desires to be,  but at the same time, individuals are treated by these courts as having no rights if they instead desire to live morally and as holy scripture commands, for the sake of the generations coming behind them.

This court agreed with all the other courts that marriage is a fundamental right, but stated that neither the Tennessee Supreme Court nor the U.S. Supreme Court has ever ruled that homosexuals have a right to marry someone of the same gender.

If an individual has an undisputed fundamental right to complementarian marriage, then it should follow that they have a fundamental right to remain married, absent any proof of just interest for the state in terminating legal recognition of the marriage.   “Irreconciliable Differences” is the statutory grounds, but in a contested case (and it was not specified in the ruling whether Mr. Pyles-Borman was actually contesting)  any such finding is merely a pre-mandated conclusion or inference if evidence to the contrary  is barred, and not considered.   The most important evidence to the contrary is always the non-offending, contesting spouse’s desire to reconcile the marriage in order to achieve the purpose for which the state originally had an interest in providing legal protections.

This case is being further appealed through the deep pockets of the homosexual rights movement, and if affirmed by the state appeals courts, it could be the first divorce case heard by a Federal court in decades.   That would set an interesting precedent.    However, the Federal case, Tanco v Haslam  (and three other cases involving homosexual couples married in other states) and seeking recognition in Tennessee is likely to be ruled on first, having been heard in August, 2014 by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

 

11.  Romero v Romero, Kentucky (2014)   Circuit Court, Jefferson County

A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts in 2004 also brought a divorce case in a state that did not recognize out of state homosexual marriages.    The case was dismissed in February,, 2014.    A similar lawsuit was filed by homosexual legal activists to challenge the constitutionality of Kentucky’s definition of marriage on a 14th Amendment equal protection basis.   However, the constitutional challenge in this case became moot when several homosexual couples suing to overturn the state’s ban on homosexual marriage prevailed in July, 2014.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC Update:   On November 6, 2014,  the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Federal District Court decisions in four cases (collectively, DeBoer v Snyder) seeking to invalidate each state’s ban on recognition of homosexual marriage, therefore upholding those bans, including Tennessee and Kentucky – hence impacting both of the above cases.   It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear the resulting appeal after declining last month to rule on several others.    

For now, the courts are fiercely asserting Federal and state ownership, definition and determination of that which sovereignly belongs to God, and was defined by God.    That Divine and Sovereign definition entails both complementarity (Matthew 19:4) and permanence (Matthew 19:6).

Standerinfamilycourt believes that a return to the standard of complementarity can only be accomplished, over time, by a return to appropriate state respect and protection for the permanence of the marriage covenant,  wherever there is neither mutual consent for dissolution, nor substantial cause for involuntary dissolution.    Over time, the improved stability of true families will dissipate the demand for socially deviant forms of the marriage contract, whether to legitimize and financially enable adultery,  polygamy or homosexuality.   This was the case for generations,  that demand for such contracts was low prior to the misguided unilateral divorce legislation.   Although a return to the proven path may be painful, its result will be far more sustainable in the long run,  especially for the budgets of local governments.

Why did I end this post about constitutional challenges to the “no-fault” law with a couple of homosexual rights cases?    Followers of Christ believe that God, not the State, gave us both our fundamental liberty, as well as our state and Federal constitutions.    I have already argued that in similar fashion, it was God who gave us His holy institution of marriage.  All three are Divine, purpose-bestowed privileges that can be revoked if abused, both from individuals and from an entire society.

We read in Proverbs 14:  “Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. “

I believe this timeless proverb from the Lord applies equally to Lady Justice, as we are seeing with the continued, escalating devaluation of both the purpose and effect of marriage in our society.    There will come a day for fire, brimstone,  and foreign invaders if we remain on this defiant path, but for the past 45 years, our patient Heavenly Father has been allowing America to suffer the natural consequences of her rebellion, as any loving father would hope for repentance from the heart, against His definition of the institution He defined and He created.

The second reason I end with these cases is my comprehensive study of all the 2013-2014 religious freedom and homosexual marriage rights cases, in my search to understand just what constitutes a legally viable class.   With these cases, we’ve clearly gone well beyond limiting disenfranchised and politically-disfavored classes to immutable characteristics, as state and Federal rulings handed down across the land this past year have been “all over the map” in terms of the level of review or scrutiny applied.    In some of the cases, judges are asserting that a group of people have a fundamental right to marriage based on a proclivity they were not born with.

Is it such a stretch from these recent decisions that a currently unprotected class of citizens should be recognized as a “suspect” class meriting heightened scrutiny over the unilateral dissolution of their longstanding marriages due to their shared, common convictions around its biblical and traditional permanence? 

 

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

–  www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUCKING “NO-FAULT” DIVORCE: CONSTITUTIONAL CASE HISTORY IN THE U.S. 1970-Present – Part 1

IlSupCtBg

By Standerinfamilycourt.com

PART 1  –  1970 to 1999

Blogger’s Note:   the discussion that follows reflects only my own research and independent thought, and does not necessarily reflect the advice of my attorneys

My divorce attorney and I caught the commuter train together to travel downtown and present our appeals case to constitutional attorneys whose specialty is religious freedom cases.   I had been googling and downloading various divorce appeals cases for weeks where challenge had been brought to the constitutionality of the unilateral divorce regime in other states, while looking for the history of such cases in Illinois, religious (1st Amendment), and secular (14th Amendment).   I wanted to know what I was getting into with a constitutional appeal, and whether I could hope to find the resources to sustain one.   I wanted to know how such a blatantly harsh law could survive challenge, when it stripped constitutional protections from the spouse who wanted to heal their marriage,  and handed everything on a platter to the spouse who had already behaved destructively toward the marriage, had then brought the petition, and stood to gain financially from it at the other spouse’s expense and that of the rest of the family.   What sort of rationale was the constitutional portion of my appeal going to face?

 

I knew from the way I was being bullied by the trial court that, at a very minimum, my First Amendment rights to freedom of conscience and biblical conduct had been seriously violated.   I had been chided by the judge and by opposing counsel for attempting to disprove the statutory grounds with legitimate evidence.   I had quoted Luke 16:18 from the witness stand concerning the utter illegitimacy of the concept of “irreconcilable differences” and “irretrievable breakdown” between a brother and sister in Christ.   When I was reminded by the judge that the absolute right to dissolve one’s marriage for no cause was the law of the land,  I sealed my economic fate in that courtroom by affirming the power and authority of God’s law,  stating “God’s law is higher than man’s law” and stating that God’s law forbids irreconcilable differences.   I also knew that although I was the non-offending spouse who believed biblically that I was married for life in God’s eyes and I never asked to live separately or any other way except with the husband I still dearly loved, the court was seeking to award my husband a sizeable portion of my retirement savings just because my balance was larger than his – and marital misconduct (his expensive years of adultery) could not be taken into consideration by the court, according to the Illinois statute which appeared to be blatantly violating the Fourteenth Amendment, …yet,

The Illinois constitution reads as follows, in the Bill of Rights:

SECTION 1: INHERENT AND INALIENABLE RIGHTS… to secure these rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) and the protection of property, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

SECTION 2: DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION – No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws.  

This is verbatim the U.S. Constitution, and each state constitution for the cases I read had analogous provisions.   If this was so, why hadn’t a case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, if the state courts were not upholding their own constitutions in these unilateral divorce appeals?

 

The principle of Federalism weighs pretty heavily here.   Since the U.S. Constitution left all marriage law to the states and took no authority for the Federal government, it is a blessing that state constitutions emulate the U.S. Constitution in these key provisions.   Nobody can attempt to bring an appeal on a marriage case before any Federal court until it has (very expensively) worked its way through the state appeals courts.   Shockingly, in case after case, state after state, those state supreme courts ruled that they were required to construe duly-passed legislation in a way that presumed constitutionality, and the burden was on the individual bringing the appeal to prove the state’s aims weren’t legitimate on any level(while at the same time allowing no evidence of the unwise or corrosive impact of the law as a whole).

Dissenting minority opinions to those state supreme court decisions asserted arguments including

(1) objection that Petitioners are given control of the proceedings while sometimes lacking “clean hands” (implying an equal protection problem with regards to the legitimacy of the grounds for divorce)     – FLORIDA (1973)

(2) objection that some statutory wording of the grounds for divorce impacting three states, excluding Illinois, violates the Establishment clause by entangling the state in impermissible religious inquiry  – TEXAS  (2001)

(3) objection that Respondents’ right of conscience must not be violated in the granting of “no-fault” divorce unless the statute can stand when tested under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act   – TEXAS  (2001)

 

What I have just described is the concept of “Rational Basis” being applied by the majority in a typical three-judge panel in all the constitutional appeals cases to-date.   Absent some basis on which to prove intentional legislative discrimination or disparate impact against a politically disenfranchised “suspect class” which deprives them of their fundamental rights, state appellate and supreme courts are going to impute “due process” to any regime that can be shown to be reasonably connected to some “legitimate” government aim,  even if innocent parties are substantially harmed by offending parties, and even if society is harmed rather than benefited, as many cases have gone into court with empirical evidence that has been consistently dismissed.    I could find no relevant state case that has ever been accepted for hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court in all the years since 1970  up to the present, that is, until all of the homosexual cases came along, armed with equal protection victories in the lower courts and with government entities appealing.

In 1986, a religious freedom case brought by non-attorney citizen  Judith Brumbaugh of Florida, was docketed at the U.S. Supreme Court, but was declined without hearing “for want of a Federal question”.   There normally has to be a disagreement about constitutionality among several states and their corresponding regional Federal circuits before the U.S. Supreme Court will take on a marriage case.    In 2013-2014, however, judicial activists planted in the court system, principally by President Obama but also by earlier administrations, have greased the skids and changed the precedents for marriage cases because of the lawsuits against governments brought by homosexual activists seeking marriage rights and recognition.   This development could present a potential turning point in the eventual defeat of unilateral divorce for several reasons.

 

What follows is a synopsis of some key state cases ruled on appeal since shortly after first unilateral divorce laws were enacted 45 years ago.    A handful of these cases are religious freedom / discrimination cases, but most are based on either Article 1 Section 10,  asserting impairment of the marriage contract,  or the 14th Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection clauses or both.   I believe they are interesting to study, and they show that there has been persistent spirited resistance over the years to the unconstitutional nature of unilateral divorce both by citizens, and even by a handful of dissenting judges.

 

  1. Walton v Walton, California (1970-1972)   28 Cal. App.3d 108

In the first state to enact unilateral divorce, and in the first year following enactment, the husband brought a unilateral petition where strict allegation of “irreconcilable differences”, not further defined in the statute, was accepted as irrefutable evidence of breakdown in a marriage of more than 20 years duration. In circumstances most likely beyond the Respondent wife’s control or consent, the couple had been said to have lived apart without a legal separation for over two years.

FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC commentary: According to a plurality of behavioral science studies, two years is the average life for infatuation typically associated with an uninterrupted and unimpeded adulterous relationship,  a time period over which an innocent conscientious moral objector to divorce has no control and little influence.)

In a situation much like mine, the embattled wife felt compelled to assent to the existence of “irreconcilable differences” in court documents, in an attempt to protect her property rights under the law.   Unlike me, however, she lacked the biblical imperative of answering first to God to resist doing so, and the appeals court held that fact against her in its determination.   Additionally, she was at the time of her appeal seeking separate maintenance under the same statute as an alternative to dissolution of the marriage, most likely for financial dependency reasons.   This fact unconscionably worked against the deemed validity of some of her appeal points.   Lastly, and keeping in mind that this was a groundbreaking new law at the time, the appeals court stated that she (or her attorneys) failed to invoke some “discretionary” powers of the trial court to hear evidence of the marital misconduct that was nevertheless barred by the statute, and therefore, according to the court, she waived consideration of the due process aspect of the marital misconduct clause.

The appellate court rejected all of the wife’s secular constitutional assertions: (1) impairment of the marriage contract by ex post facto change in grounds definition, (2) statutory vagueness of “irreconcilable differences” as a grounds for divorce, (3) exclusion of marital misconduct constitutes a violation of due process over property rights, (4) the double-standard that connects the Respondent’s compelled assent to the existence of “irreconcilable differences” to the procedural protection of her property rights constitutes a violation of constitutional equal protection guarantees, (5) “irreconcilable differences” grounds deprives spouses of their vested interest in their marital status without due process.

As in all subsequent cases, the Article 1, Sec. 10 argument that the marriage contract should be protected in the same way as a commercial partnership contract from impairment by legislative changes was defeated by the U.S. Supreme Court case Maynard v. Hill, which was almost 200 years old at the time of this appeal.   However, if that is a fixed and unchangeable precedent, then one of the chief rationales for the exclusion of marital misconduct as a factor in determining property division, on the theory that the marriage is an equal “economic partnership”, should also be constitutionally invalid on the same consistent basis.

I highlight an egregious statement made by the court because there was no heightened scrutiny protection afforded to this wife as one of the first members of a politically disfavored class from whom fundamental rights were being stripped, while the appeals court majority claimed she did not suffer this fundamental rights deprivation without due process of law:

“The state’s inherent sovereign power includes the so called “police power” right to interfere with vested property rights whenever reasonably necessary to the protection of the health, safety, morals, and general well being of the people. The constitutional question, on principle, therefore, would seem to be, not whether a vested right is impaired by a marital law change, but whether such a change reasonably could be believed to be sufficiently necessary to the public welfare as to justify the impairment.”

FB profile 7xtjw Standerinfamilycourt believes that use of the term “interfere” in this opinion severely trivialized the impact to this wife and to their shared family, and deflected attention from the fact that a fundamental right was being violated in a way that merited heightened scrutiny.   The court should have required the state to prove the necessity of the law as the least impairing and restrictive means of protecting the health, safety, “morals” (a heinously subjective term) and wellbeing of the people.   However, the court did not have the empirical evidence we have today that the law has accomplished exactly the opposite of what this court described as a “compelling” state interest ( a legal term, the use of which would have in later years required the state to carry the burden of proving, nevertheless).   Case law that would set a precedent for applying the correct level of judicial review to properly address the stripping of fundamental rights from a disenfranchised class on a basis other than race, gender, nationality, etc. would not start developing for another 5 years after this ruling.

There was no dissenting opinion in this proceeding.

 

   2.  Ryan v Ryan, Florida (1973)  277 So.2d 269   State Supreme Ct

Another very early case in a state that replaced all previous grounds definition with “irreconcilable differences” which was left to the discretionary judgment of the court and not further defined in the statute. The effect was that the petitioning spouse needed only to make the allegation and prove residency, and their non-offending spouse was effectively precluded from defending against it. There was chatter in the opinion to the effect that the finding of “irreconcilable differences” did require some evidence of “irretrievable breakdown”, but at the same time admitted that the evidence could be uncorroborated, and that the decision relied entirely on the court’s discretion.

Unlike the previously mentioned Florida Brumbaugh case from the 1980’s that follows, this case was entirely secular, raising all of the same issues as the Walton case did in California the prior year, and substantially the same points made in the appellate ruling.

The copy I pulled down without a legal subscription lists only the arguments and the findings without citing any facts from the case.   One point is raised, however, that probably also impacted the Walton case but was only alluded to and not explicitly addressed in that case.   I find the point interesting because it provides quite a contrast with our case, given how society its economic structure has changed in the intervening 40 years.    In both the Walton and Ryan cases, the wife was economically dependent on the husband who was unilaterally divorcing her.   They had both been homemakers in a day when women had far fewer opportunities to carry on a self-sustaining economic life.   While there were provisions in the “no-fault” law for dividing retirement assets to a financially dependent spouse, and providing for economic maintenance, both wives were appealing constitutionally because they were being deprived of vested property rights in their husbands’ future accumulation when they had committed no offense against the marriage, hence being deprived of constitutional due process. (I can’t say that I disagree with Mrs. Ryan in her situation as a non-offending spouse, because I believe it is inherently unconstitutional to grant a contested divorce without proof of harm to the marriage, but the appeals courts disagreed).   The ruling cited the following assertion previously made by the same court:

“During the life of the husband, the right [to inherited property or appreciation in the full marital estate] is a mere expectancy or possibility. In that condition of things, the lawmaking power may deal with it as may be deemed proper. It is not a natural right. It is wholly given by law, and the power that gave it may increase, diminish or otherwise alter it or otherwise take it away.”   They went on to say the same principle applies to every other type of named or potential heir to a person’s estate.

FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC commentary: Contrast that bygone era with the more contemporary situation where a self-supporting, financially independent offending spouse can use a divorce petition and an unconscionable law to leverage a sizable portion of the non-offending spouse’s assets because a U.S. Supreme Court decision that preceded enactment of the unilateral divorce law by 200 years declined to uphold the marriage contract in the same fashion as other contracts, yet the law itself equates the two for property divisions purposes only.)

 

The court further stated that “due process” was met upon a provision of notice and an opportunity to be heard.   This limited the discussion to procedural due process, ignoring substantive due process rights, and did not take into account the judicial stifling of the “opportunity to be heard” imposed by typical court operating rules that give the favored Petitioner far more latitude to present evidence than the disfavored Respondent.

 

Highlights of Dissenting Opinion  (SIFC could not do this justice by paraphrasing, so here’s the conclusion, verbatim):  

R ROBERTS, Justice (dissenting).

A large body of case law extending over a long period of years, written by many eminent and distinguished jurists has repeatedly reiterated that the “clean hands” doctrine does most assuredly apply to divorce suits.

To hold otherwise would impute to the lawmakers a total lack of interest in the faithful spouse who over a long period of years has suffered abuses and indignities, but who is forced to accept a divorce not because of his or her own wrongdoing, but because the offending spouse has mutilated the marriage. The innocent party’s objection to the divorce may well be for good reason, and it seems to me after having been a member of the Bar for 44 years, and a member of this Court for 23 years, to be an odd legal pronouncement to say that an offending spouse could profit by his own misconduct and obtain the sought for divorce because of his or her own wrongdoing and abuses.

Under the majority view a wrongdoing husband can come home every Saturday night for five years, drunk and penniless because of skirt-chasing, gambling, or some other misdeeds; then, he may beat, bruise and abuse his wife because he is unhappy with himself, and then he will be permitted to go down and get a divorce on printed forms purchased at a department store and tell the trial judge that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Or, the offending wife, after jumping from bed to bed with her new found paramours, chronically drunk, and when at home nagging, brawling and quarreling, all against the wishes of a faithful husband who remains at home nurturing the children, is permitted to divorce her husband who does not desire a divorce, but rather, has one forced upon him, not because of anything he has done, but because the offending wife tells the trial court that her marriage is “irretrievably broken”.

In my opinion, the offending spouse should not have standing to obtain a divorce if the innocent one invokes the doctrine that,

“He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.”

It is the duty of this Court to seek a construction of a statute which would support its constitutionality. By merely retaining the “clean hands” doctrine, I could agree that the “no-fault” divorce statute is constitutional, but absent this,

I must respectfully dissent.

FB profile 7xtjw(SIFC commentary: Justice Roberts was here precisely echoing the words transcribed 4 years earlier of Fred T. Hanson, the head of the NCCUSL Commission that authored UMDA, in his dissent with the majority on that uniform state law advisory commission. He is essentially saying that granting a unilateral petition to an offending spouse against the consent of a non-offending spouse denies equal protection under the law.   Had these gentlemen been heeded, our nation would be in a very different place today.)

 

     3.  MVR v TMR,  New York (1982) 115 Misc 2d 674

This was a fault-based case alleging mental cruelty and abandonment brought by the wife of a homosexual.   New York would not adopt unilateral divorce until 2010, and at the time of the case, had not adopted the exclusion of marital misconduct as a factor in property division.   The judge still interpreted the existing statute as prohibiting the consideration of marital misconduct after comparing with the practices of the other states that had adopted variations of UMDA.   He stated that did so for the purpose of giving special protection to the homosexual Respondent.

There was no discussion of financial misconduct in the case, and it’s unclear why the wife Petitioner wanted marital misconduct considered in the settlement.   Presumably the reason why the abandoning / offending Respondent, who did not appear to be committed to the marriage, was not the Petitioner was that there was no “irreconcilable differences” ground available to him at the time.

The ruling pontificated upon the difficulty of apportioning mutual marital fault (as if family law is the only setting where this unbearable burden is foisted on the beleaguered judiciary), and asserted the following discussion of the “economic partnership” marriage constitutes:

“As in commercial partnership law, from which this model is drawn, fault is irrelevant in the distribution of partnership assets upon dissolution of the partnership. “ The discussion goes on to claim that the “partners” are merely getting back what they contributed.

 

FB profile 7xtjw  (SIFC commentary: fair enough in this limited instance where the divorce itself is not without due secular cause and not unilaterally imposed.   However, this Certified Public Accountant would be remiss not to point out that nothing precludes additional civil action for financial malfeasance by commercial partners that would not be available to spouses.   Therein the popular UMDA-inspired false analogy breaks down.  Further, as our case demonstrates, unenforced and defeated dissipation curbs allow some “partners” to “get back” far more than they contributed to the marriage estate. )

 

   4.  Brumbaugh v Brumbaugh, Florida (1983-1987)  FL5th District C.A. & U.S. Supreme Court

I was not able to download a free copy of this case, so I base my description on author Judith Brumbaugh’s compelling book, Judge, Please Don’t Strike That Gavel On My Marriage  From the beginning, Florida had one of the harshest laws in the nation because like California, it adopted the advisory Uniform Marriage and Dissolution Act (UMDA) without significant modification.   Ten years after enactment, marriages were being flushed away with vending machine-like “efficiency”, and courts were thuggishly punishing anyone who dared stand in front of the steamroller.   Then along came one of those annoying religious objectors, hauling her bible into court and thumping it as if it were a higher law than the Florida Statute.

Mr. Brumbaugh had brought his unilateral petition as a result of his own adultery, having once professed to being an evangelical Christian for the entire period of their 20 year marriage.   Like Mrs. Walton and Mrs. Ryan,  Mrs. Brumbaugh had been a homemaker for the duration of her marriage, including home-schooling her children, and was financially dependent on her husband.   Her resistance to assenting  to the “irreconcilable differences” grounds caused the judge not only to punish her financially,  but also to ensure that she could not pay legal fees, and even to tamper with her court transcript, as she discovered during her appeals process.   For the majority of her legal journey she was forced to educate and represent herself.   Though she was the non-offending spouse, she was stripped of all property rights and custody of her children.   Many parents’ rights advocates say this is what commonly happens as a result of contesting a divorce on moral grounds, so parents feel compelled to violate their moral convictions in order not to lose parental rights.   Since SIFC is not conversant in Parents Rights issues, we refer the reader to advocate Stephen Baskerville.

Mrs. Brumbaugh asserted that she was being punished by the court for exercising her First Amendment right to free exercise of religious conscience in contesting her case, since she believed,  as I do, that the bible strictly prohibits and God does not recognize divorce between covenant spouses, and that subsequent remarriage while a covenant spouse is still living constitutes adultery, as Jesus clearly stated.   There was not a dissipation of assets claim involved, but parental rights and religious rights to the continuation of the children’s upbringing were very much at issue.

Had she succeeded in being heard on appeal, she may potentially have prevailed on a First Amendment free exercise-based challenge because the landmark 1990 decision, Oregon v Smith had not yet set the precedent that diluted religious protections against broadly applicable state laws like the marriage dissolution law which violated her deeply held convictions.   Since that time,  effective religious conscience protections have come to depend heavily on state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts which were developed at the Federal level and in several states in response to the attempted curtailment of original constitutional protections.   Like standerinfamilycourt,  Mrs. Brumbaugh was financially punished by a hostile judge for contesting her husband’s petition on moral and biblical grounds based on the dictates of her conscience, and according to her biblical responsibility before God for her family’s spiritual wellbeing.

This lady’s strong persistence through several years of wrangling with state courts, her desire to become educated out of a motivation to help others, and her string of losses in the state courts eventually led to her case being docketed at the U.S. Supreme Court, but ultimately it was dismissed without hearing.   At the end of her 4 year legal journey, Mrs. Brumbaugh was still self-represented due to lack of funds for legal counsel.

 

FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC commentary:  At that time, the various legal ministries devoted to defending religious liberties were just getting started, and though they all have mission statements that promote the defense of the traditional family, most still do not construe that mission to include defending against forced divorce cases that violate religious conscience, and several told us they do not readily accept that religious discrimination is a core issue in such cases.   The reasons seem to have mostly to do with fundraising and not wanting to politically offend certain constituencies.    However, as these same ministries have in 2014 been representing various states’ efforts to preserve the one man, one woman legal definition of marriage, they have been met with judicial chastisement over the apparent hypocrisy of this stance in failing to recognize the most dangerous form of marriage redefinition that actually enabled unilateral divorce.   SIFC prays that these ministries will penitently hear this as the voice of the Holy Spirit, even though the words are coming from the lips and pens of liberal judges determined to deconstruct traditional marriage.  SIFC believes that any victory against demonic spiritual enemies requires absolute integrity and total obedience to all of God’s word, fearing God above all men, and this could very well be a “core issue” in the lack of God’s blessing on their cases in the constitutional arena of homosexual and plural marriage redefinition.)   1M1W4L !

 

5.  Semmler v Semmler, Illinois (1985)   107 Ill.2d 130

In another case following shortly after enactment of a provision of the unilateral divorce law, specifically, the two year separation provision which in Illinois triggers unilateral dissolution if proven. The wife asserted unconstitutionality due to retroactive application (essentially the ex post facto, Article 1 Sec. 10 argument).   The trial court agreed with her and denied the divorce.

The husband appealed and the trial court decision was overturned based on earlier precedents the trial court failed to apply, including Maynard v Hill from the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is unfortunate that an issue around the constitutionality of marital misconduct being excluded as a consideration in the division of property or determining child custody wasn’t raised in this case.   The appellate court did not have an opportunity to observe the double-standard in singling out the marriage contract as not being subject to constitutional protection while the Illinois statute nevertheless demands to treat the marital estate as a contractual “economic partnership”.     An opportunity was missed to reverse the perverse economic incentive created by the statute (to walk out on one’s family with no economic consequences) that no doubt tugged at the conscience of that Kane County trial judge who was overruled in this  appeal.

 

 FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC commentary: This appears to be the only substantive challenge brought to the constitutionality of Illinois’ unilateral divorce law.   Another 1978 case Kujawinski v. Kujawinski 376 N.E.2d 1382 was brought on several counts of technical issues where the trial court ruled the law unconstitutional, and was also fully overturned.)

6.  Johari v Johari, Minnesota (1997)   Court of Appeals, CO-97-69

The husband brought a pro-se appeal of his wife’s no-fault judgment on equal protection grounds, and asserted that where there are minor children of the marriage, “irretrievable breakdown” as a standard for dissolution of the marriage does not meet the purpose of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, an issue not taken up in the trial court, thus dismissed.    In his role as Appellant, Mr. Johari failed to give required notice to the State Attorney General of his constitutional challenge which substantially damaged his case.   Mr. Johari did not raise a religious objection to the statute.

The appeals court ruled that Mr. Johari failed to make a legal argument on appeal, and cited no legal authority in support of his argument.   The court further ruled that newspaper and magazine articles he brought in support of his position were not adequate to establish error by the trial court.   Finally, the court ruled that the relief Mr. Johari sought in ordering the Minnesota Legislature to reverse the unilateral divorce statute to require a findng of cause, and set aside the divorce judgment pending this action was outside the court’s authority.    The trial court decision was affirmed.

 FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC commentary:  It is unfortunate that Mr. Johari was not able to be represented by trained counsel.    He certainly had the right idea.

 

Part 2 will cover cases brought since 2000, including some very interesting religious freedom cases.

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

 

 

 

When the Other Woman Becomes the Wife

http://www.emotionalaffair.org

When an Other Woman Becomes the Wife

“My perspective is from that of the other woman (OW) who became the new wife. I hope this helps someone.

You will get to be responsible for destroying the life of another woman. You will get to be responsible for destroying the lives of all children involved. No, children are not resilient. They are sponges and take in everything around them whether they are capable of processing it or not. And when they are not able to process their world being shattered and all the conflicting messages about right and wrong, you will get to deal with all their issues and mistakes and anger as they grow up. You will have to know all the while that whatever is happening is a direct result of your selfishness. If the child fails at school, can’t control their anger, becomes promiscuous, falls into addictions, can’t maintain good relationships of their own you get to know in the back of your mind and deep in your soul that you are responsible for what molded that child. Whether you admit it or not, you WILL know. You will not be able to fix this; it will not work out, smooth over, or ever be okay. Even if you look like the Cleavers on the surface it is under there bubbling and will come out. Don’t think you are special and you will escape this result.

Maybe right now you are in a place where you are in deep denial about the children and you don’t give a crap about the BW [betrayed wife]. Let me appeal to your sense of selfishness then and tell you what you personally are going to suffer in the years to come…

You are marrying a cheater. Someone who didn’t like what they had at home so they went looking for something better. Or maybe you offered him something better? It doesn’t really matter who started it, who lied more, it doesn’t even really matter if you were tricked into a relationship not knowing he was married at first. Your consequences will be the same. You now have a spouse who gave up one family and chose you and yours. Feels great right? Think again. How long do you think it will take before you stop feeling like a prize?

The minute things go wrong, and face it, in all marriages there are these times, he is going to be looking at you and wondering if you were worth it. And you will feel it. Even if he doesn’t say it right out. He is going to realize that this marriage requires just as much work as the old one did and you are not nearly as perfect in real life as he thought you were and he is going to be angry for what he has sacrificed for you. Now you get to be insecure and feel like you are always fighting to be worth it to him.

You are going to be labeled as the b**ch for the entire rest of your life. No matter what changes or personal revelations you come to, you will be the bitch that wrecked a home and stole a husband. There will be innumerable family conflicts over this. You are likely to have his kids hating your guts forever. This means that every holiday, school concert, soccer game, big family event like graduations and weddings, and grandkids (yes, it will last that far and long) will be sources of conflict instead of happy times.

You will probably not be invited to a lot of things that your spouse should be attending with his children. You may show up anyway, asserting your position as the new wife. But it will be a conflict. Your spouse will have to over and over choose between you and his original family. He is going to resent you for this. You are going to get so tired of constantly being the center of conflict and so tired of all the hate directed at you and no one is going to sympathize with you. When you do impose yourself where the BW and her children and extended family and friends are, you will feel the scarlet letter that you wear burning in your chest no matter how high you try to hold your head. I promise you…you will. You and your stolen spouse will fight over this more than you can imagine in the years to come.

And guess what?! When he starts to pull away from you and works late more, or isn’t insatiable in bed with you anymore, or cuts his hair a new way you are going to be terrified. You are going to be terrified because you know exactly what he might be doing next. You are going to be suspicious probably before he actually even does anything because you already know he is untrustworthy.

Chances are he is going to cheat again too. Except this time on you. Now, you get to feel the pain of being a BW doubled by the pain of realizing exactly what you did to someone else. The guilt and shame on top of your already devastating pain from being cheated on will be unbearable. Now listen to this closely NO ONE IS GOING TO CARE!! You are going to hear and know that you should have known better and have the old adages about cheaters thrown in your face over and over. You will not be able to come somewhere like these boards for support because they are going to crucify you! You will be all alone with your pain and your heartache with no one to blame but yourself.

Do not think you are special. DO NOT THINK IT WON’T HAPPEN TO YOU!!!!!!!!!! The stats are overwhelmingly high. No one gets married thinking that their spouse will cheat. No one. I promise that you are not different or better somehow.

Occasionally an affair partner will grow a conscience and want to be a good person and here is what happens…

Now, let’s say that you make changes in your heart and your life. Let say you find God or in whatever way it comes to you, you realize that you have done something horrendous. Okay, now you actually do care about those kids and that BW. Well too bad. You can’t fix it. Yes, God will forgive you if you repent. Not many others will. And you will have one heck of a time trying to forgive yourself. You will feel sick and ashamed all the time. You will cry many bitter tears.

You will not be able to look at your spouse and feel the same way you once did. All of your memories of when you first met, your first kiss, the early days of your relationship will be tainted. All of those memories that are supposed to be sweet will be sour. You will not be able to enjoy them because you know that whole time it was wrong, wrong, wrong! What are you left with? Not much.

You are going to try to offer apologies, you are going to try to figure out what you can possibly do to make amends and there are going to be no easy answers. You will be told by many that you can’t repent and stay married. You will be told by just as many that if God has forgiven you that another divorce would be just another sin. You will make yourself crazy over this because you want to do the right thing for once in your life and you have put yourself in a situation where it is impossible to know what that is.

Also, if you are one of the few who have this attack of conscience at some point down the road, you are still going to be dealing with all the same stuff above that the unremorseful affair partner is dealing with except it’s probably going to hurt you even more because you now genuinely care. Too bad no one will think you are sincere or trust your words. Why should they, remember what you did?? Of course you do, now go cry some more as if it will help.

There are no time machines people!! You are making a mess bigger than you can ever clean up!!…”

FB profile 7xtjw Standerinfamilycourt  Blogger’s Commentary:    Found this blog post while on a search to find a source for a statistic shared by a fellow stander on his page:  that the failure rate  is 97% for remarriages that originated in adultery.   Obviously, Jesus, Peter and Paul all taught the importance of the foundation upon which anything is built, but the figure was still very striking, if there indeed has been a statistically reliable study of this subject in the easy, sleazy “no-fault” era of the past 45 years when the government started actively undermining biblical, covenant marriages.    I was unsuccessful in finding anything specific, but my blogger’s antenna is now up.

Life usually has a way of playing out exactly as the bible describes, because this Book is supernatural.   The adulterer who once walked with Christ has first committed adultery in his heart toward the One who died for him, Who unconditionally remains in covenant with the bride of his youth along with him.   No non-covenant replacement can ever occupy the place of Christ nor the covenant spouse, and that person’s very presence in the adulterer’s life competes with Christ.   Coexistence, regardless of a corrupt family law system’s complicity in legalizing it,  is impossible because that person amounts to an idol in the adulterer’s life,  one who has been substituted for and placed ahead of Christ.

So, for now I leave my readers with the Book’s timeless wisdom which, before even factoring in the yielded stander’s powerful and unrelenting prayers for a stolen one-flesh spouse and his/her stolen soul, perfectly undergirds such a 97% statistic.   (Too bad the civil authorities, who arrogantly think they, not God, are the arbiters of what’s “best” for a family, don’t take serious heed):

Galatians 6:7 –  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man [woman} sows, that he [she] will also reap.

(SIFC:  don’t miss the present tense in this next scripture, it’s important!):  Malachi 2: 13  – Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears.You weep and wail  because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask,“Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness(between you and the wife of your youth.  You have been unfaithful to her, though she is  [not was]  your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the one God made you?   You belong to him in body and spirit.

Ezekiel 34: 21, 27   –   Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.  I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them…I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.     I the Lord have spoken….They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.

1 John 5:18, 21  –  We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them…..Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

Proverbs 22:14 –  The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit;  a man who is under the Lord’s wrath falls into it.

2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

1 Corinthians 3:10 –  By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should build with care.

Luke 6:49 –  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.

Psalm 127:1 –  Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.  FB profile 7xtjw

 

We’d love to hear your comments and/or related experiences about this author’s words of warning  in the comment section below.

 

When Affair Partners Marry: 9 Reasons Why They Might Fail

By on September 8, 2011 in Divorce, Sex and Marriage

when affair partners marry

What are the typical defects in the relationships when affair partners marry and why are they more likely to divorce?

In the past we have written about the some of our neighbors who have experienced infidelity in their lives, as well as my brother’s situation, and as a result of a neighborhood block party and some time talking with my mother, we were inundated with news of cheaters beginning their new lives with their affair partners.

We heard about divorces being finalized and new homes being bought and how excited they all were to begin their new lives.  I really couldn’t feel hopeful or happy for any of these people (even though one of them was my brother).

I really feel guilty about that because I want my brother to be happy but I just have a gut feeling that this wasn’t the right way to accomplish it.

I was feeling really frustrated and of course wondered why Doug didn’t take that same path to a new life.  I also began to wonder how happy these couples will really be once the shine of their relationship wears off.  So I searched the internet looking for answers about the success rate of second marriages, particularly marriages when affair partners marry each other.

I know somewhere on our site we mentioned the percentage of these marriages that are successful and I know the percentage was very low.  However, I wanted to know why.  I was lucky enough to find an article that summarized a chapter from Frank Pittman’s book, “Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy” that described the typical defects in the relationships when affair partners marry and why they are likely to divorce.

The intervention of reality.  During the affair the affair partners are in an intense state of stimulating unreality.  The second marriage itself seems to be the switch that illuminates the mess that has accumulated.  To them it was as if the romance appeared real while the divorce didn’t.  Only after their marriage did the divorce become real enough to see that it was a horrible mistake.  They were so caught up in the infatuation that they never got around to figuring out if what they were doing was sane.

Guilt.  People who have wrecked a family have inflicted much pain.  As reality sets in they see many things they were overlooking. They may have no or little guilt during the affair and divorce, so the guilt they feel after the remarriage may come as a complete surprise to both of them and they may not know how to handle that revelation.

Disparity of Sacrifice.  Divorces are expensive both financially and emotionally.  Anyone losing a great deal will be drained, exhausted and depressed.  It is particularly difficult when the exhausted partner marries one who feels triumphant that they have won the battle and took them away from their family.  When affair partners marry, the new couple may feel a disparity in what had to be sacrificed to bring them together.  They may not understand the emotion that was involved and what they had to give up in order to be together.

Expectations.  Then there is the feeling that anything that cost that much emotionally had better be worth it.  The greater the sacrifices, the greater the expectations for the new marriage.  They believe that everything will be perfect just as their affair was.  Unfortunately, what they will find is the ordinariness of real life.  The more people enjoy the battles involved in wrecking and escaping marriages, the less they are likely to enjoy the business as usual of the new marriage.

General distrust of marriage and of the affair partners.  It is obvious that when affair partners marry at some point in their marriage they will begin to question if their new spouse will also cheat on them.  How can a marriage that began as a lie have any trusting foundation?

Divided loyalties.  During the affair and the divorce the affair couples isolate themselves.  They not only erase the betrayed spouse from their awareness, but also the children, relatives, friends, etc.  They live in their own little world protected from the devastation that they have created, safe from anyone who tries to pull them apart.  After the remarriage, they long to reconnect with these people only to find that is not so easy.  Everyone involved is hurt by the betrayal and not as forgiving as they have expected. They often find that they only have each other and that can be very lonely.

Romance.  People who are in love with romance, or in love with being in love as Dr. Huizenga would say, do not understand the physics of relationships.  When the romance fades, romantics know little about how to solve those problems.  Rather, they believe that they have just fallen out of love.  They do not understand how to have a deeper more meaningful relationship.  They move on from romance to romance never finding true lasting love.

Blaming the betrayed spouses.  During the affair and the divorce the affair couples convince each other that the defective marriage was the fault of the betrayed spouse.  To acknowledge otherwise, now that the remarriage has taken place, seems a betrayal of the rescue fantasies that fed the affair in the first place.

Unshared history.  Even if a new marriage survives all of these obstacles, there is one further characteristic of second marriages: the absence of a shared history that brings familiarity to relationships that begin earlier in life.

If an affair wrecked the first marriage, the history is painful and embarrassing for both parties.  They also have a difficult time discussing the past because it may promote jealousy and insecurity.  When affair partners marry, they do not want to hear the good qualities of the previous marriage and spouses.  They also don’t want to hear about all the good times they had shared.  They are literally starting over and trying not to bring the past with them.  Often times this can be lonely and disheartening, and eventually causes them to forget who they really are.

I believe that most of us (betrayed spouses) realize that many of these defects would play out similarly if our spouses chose to leave and marry their affair partner.  I am pretty confident that none of these obstacles were discussed or even thought about while our spouses were involved in their affairs.  I imagine that it would probably take awhile before the fog lifted and the consequences of their actions were realized.

For a powerful post written by an “other woman” who married her affair partner, click here.

LINESPACE

Enemies of Religious Freedom=> God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty

Standerinfamilycourt.com  Blog Commentary:   This post is to remind that there are influential people out there who fervently wish the latter portion of the 1st Amendment didn’t exist at all.    People who think that the founding fathers’ purpose in the Establishment clause was to protect government from religion (amazing how even some law professors didn’t pay attention in history class),  while most of us are perfectly clear from the context of WHY this nation was founded that it was the other way around.     These forces rejoiced when a Supreme Court decision about peyote mushrooms 25 years ago significantly watered down the Free Exercise clause.   Were these forces infuriated when Congress tried to restore it with 1993 legislation which was intended to appropriately balance the interests, and to apply the law to all 50 states?  Did they rejoice when the U.S. Supreme Court slapped down the portion of that law that applied to the states?   Did they settle into a glowering resentment as a few states subsequently adopted verbatim  Federal language in state legislation?   Hard to say.  By some accounts even the ACLU was onboard with RFRA in the early days (must have been the peyote mushrooms at issue) , and the Congressional record reflects broad bipartisan support of that legislation, but most states didn’t rush to adopt RFRA’s in that era.

Then came the very wise 2014 Burwell v Hobby Lobby decision – which dealt with forced provision of contraception to employees.   Despite the loud howling that society was going to unravel if employers weren’t uniformly compelled  to be the source of all birth control,  this crowd knew that considerably more  was at stake for the homosexual agenda, the abortion agenda, and as they may soon find out….the unilateral divorce agenda.   Religious freedom protection,  when done in a way that merely restores and reaffirms the balanced constitutional intent in the original language of the 1st Amendment,  is absolutely lethal  to virtually every aspect of the liberal social agenda.    What we’ve witnessed since 1990 is a football game between activist judges and the people of the United States marked by a series of back and forth interceptions.

This week some sickening news broke in the wake of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Idaho’s constitutional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.    An ordained ministry couple who run a wedding chapel in Coeur D’Alene is under threat of being jailed because they refuse to officiate a homosexual wedding that mocks God.    A few years ago, a Christian father in Massachusetts was  jailed when he exercised his parental rights and held his 5-year old out of mandatory public school pornographic homosexual indocrination classes (to which he was not even entitled to advance parental notice).    In New Mexico, a Christian photographer was fined for referring a homosexual couple on because she could not ethically shoot another faux wedding that was morally repugnant to her.   She was told by her state high court that violating her deeply held convictions was the price for the privilege of doing business in the state.    The original Free Exercise clause should  have been adequate protection for each of these innocent citizens against those who would criminalize biblical ethics, but since it was not, these states were permitted to enforce criminal sanctions against them because those states either lacked a RFRA, or the version enacted varied from the Federal version in a way that made it ineffective.

In reading the piece below, the critical thinker won’t be fooled by the extreme negative examples offered up by Prof. Hamilton.   Why?  Because wherever there is an attempt to apply RFRA inappropriately, to wit:

[ “…the forced marriage of adolescents into polygamous marriages, the violence of white supremacist or radical jihadist prison gangsThe perpetrators of 9/11 were religious zealots. So were the parents who let their children die. Roman Catholic bishops covered up for child abusers and endangered one child after another to protect the religious institution from scandal.”  ]   such facts will reliably trigger a situation where the governing authority will have no problem meeting their burden of demonstrating a compelling interest.    In such situations, “Gavel” wins (as does God), but Prof. Hamilton didn’t finish those  stories for her audience, and it’s unclear that religious freedom defenses were actually asserted in any of these situations.    The liberal camp is desperately trying to get the religious freedom ball back by means of a “fake”.    Prof.  Hamilton and her cohort would have us believe the balance of interests reflected in state and Federal RFRA laws is “extreme”.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness,  self-control; against such things there is no law.”    Galatians 5:22-23

All this said, standerinfamilycourt.com heartily salutes Prof. Hamilton for her excellent job of cataloging the up to the minute status of the various states’ RFRA legislation, an invaluable service.  I’d propose that defenders of religious freedom might use Prof. Hamilton’s useful link to keep one eye on their state legislative agenda in the months ahead.

 

God vs. the Gavel
The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty
By:

Marci A. Hamilton

October 1, 2014
BookTalk

by Marci A. Hamiltonthe Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

*This post originally appeared on Hamilton and Griffin on Rights.

How do you talk about the unspeakable? A decade ago, it was taboo to criticize religion or religious believers in print. They were a benign presence in America right next to apple pie.   I wrote God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law then to defeat this taboo, because it was masking a reality most Americans would want to know.

There I stacked up transgressions of religious actors, including the sexual abuse and medical neglect (to death) of children, the forced marriage of adolescents into polygamous marriages, the violence of white supremacist or radical jihadist prison gangs, and even the questionable dealings of religious developers who forced incompatible uses like homeless shelters into residential neighborhoods. It was all for religion, with results that were not so benign.

The destruction of the taboo was necessary in a just society. The perpetrators of 9/11 were religious zealots. So were the parents who let their children die. Roman Catholic bishops covered up for child abusers and endangered one child after another to protect the religious institution from scandal. Then the same pattern appeared across virtually all religious denominations. These were atrocities.

Before these criminal acts reminded us of the power of religion to be both transcendent and horrible, Congress had ratcheted up the rights of religious believers by passing the misbegotten Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 and 2000. Hardly anyone understood what it meant either time and no one was thinking of jihadists, clergy child predators, or children dying from medical neglect, in part because mainstream religious lobbyists intentionally presented a wholesome face to Congress, arguing that religious believers faced discrimination across the country that needed to be corrected by the statute.

What could possibly be wrong with “restoring” religious freedom? A lot, when it is not an actual restoration but rather a new concoction that handed believers rights to avoid the law that they never had before.

Then RFRA metastasized as religious lobbyists demanded the enactment of state RFRAs, with the argument that if it was good for the federal government, it was good for the states. Nineteen states have followed suit, and lobbyists are still pushing in the rest.

I wrote God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, to unmask RFRA for what it is and to explain to the American public what it desperately needs to know: the opaque, legalistic mumbo jumbo of RFRA and the culture it has generated carve out a pathway to child abuse and neglect, discrimination, and tyranny. The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case and decision were shocking to many Americans, but not to me. It is only one example of what happens when we give religious actors extreme rights.

My goal with The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty is to educate as many as possible about the perils of extreme religious liberty, the need to fight for the protection of the vulnerable, and the wisdom of repealing the RFRAs. Even religious liberty needs to be leavened with common sense.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC Further Note:   Marci Hamilton was lead counsel for the city of Boerne, Texas, in the religious freedom case  Boerne v. Flores before the U.S. Supreme Court.   In this case, the Supreme court ruled that the Federal RFRA passed by Congress could not be applied to the states.   This prompted several states to legislatively adopt their own versions of RFRA,  many of them verbatim versions of the Federal law.

 

Our Story (7 Times Around the Jericho Wall) – Part 3

IlSupCtStatue2

by Standerinfamilycourt.com

“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)”  

   –  2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 (Amplified)

Part 3:  PREPARATION FOR APPEAL CONTINUES….

Blogger’s Note:   the discussion that follows reflects only my own research and independent thought, and does not necessarily reflect the advice of my attorneys.  

Only God could bring down the fortified wall of Jericho that had stood for 3,000 years, and was the most formidable wall in the history of the world at that time.    In the same way, this appeal won’t be what pulls the tyrannical unilateral divorce law down, but the prayers and the honor of God’s glory behind this appeal (and hopefully more appeals to come in more states) that will pull the law down.   The principle of Federalism in our American tradition requires that this be a state-by-state process, as we’ve seen with those who wish to complete the destruction of marriage by further redefinition.    Only a mighty act of God (and uncharacteristic acts of human courage and leadership) could ever result in the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to take up the unilateral divorce issue, even if there’s constitutional victory for us at the state level.    I’m still praying for this, for nothing will be too hard for El Elyon, God Most High.

I mentioned in my first post that our constitutional law attorneys advised us that we will have to lose all of the technical points in our appeal before any constitutional arguments will be ruled on.    Now that’s discouraging- like peering up a fortified wall!

From my simple-minded layperson perspective, it’s pretty hard to separate the technical from the constitutional on several of the key points, and it hasn’t gotten any easier with all the research I’ve done since that summer day in downtown Chicago.    It seems that “abuse of discretion” and denial of equal protection or violation of my right of free religious exercise intertwine symbiotically – are cross-motivated, if you will.   I know I’ve had at least one wrestling conversation with my attorney debating whether we argue that the law itself is unconstitutional, or the law as applied to the facts of my case is unconstitutional…”arguments and theories and reasonings and and lofty things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God”  (Hopefully I’ll get a chance to understand a lot more than I do now about that distinction.)

The religious freedom case will, unfortunately, be too narrow to help anyone besides me, but if we are successful,  I’m told it will set a precedent that will be binding in the future and hopefully reform boorish behavior on the bench.   That is, if angry leftists don’t take legislative steps in response to any court victory of ours to change the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act, perhaps to gut it, or to once again single out marriage law as an exclusion.    The Hobby Lobby decision this past summer thrilled us, but really riled up the liberal forces because they realize what upholding strong conscience protections will do to curb both the pro-abortion and the LGBT political agendas.    Just wait til they get their wake-up call that the City of No-Fault is also under serious RFRA attack!   A couple of my previous posts discuss RFRA and its implications for our cause of restoring balanced constitutional protections to marriage law.

For these reasons (narrowness of impact and the political vulnerability of RFRA in our liberal-dominated state), my strong preference is to “swing for the fences”,  to supplement the religious freedom portion of our case with a simultaneous effort to persuade the court to look at Respondents as a “suspect class”,  disfavored and treated with animus by the entrenched powerful interests against whom we are politically weak and are therefore stripped of a host of fundamental rights when we’ve done nothing to harm our marriages.    I believe this would greatly bolster our 14th Amendment equal protection and due process arguments, and make any motivation to gut Illinois RFRA moot, with regard to our particular cause, at least.

Why does all this matter?   In the case of religious freedom, New Mexico also had a RFRA, but unfortunately because their law excludes “laws of general applicability” from RFRA protections, it was self-defeating (not exactly sure what it actually purported to accomplish other than window-dressing).    As a result, Elane Photography was told by a pompous, arrogant judge that checking her Christian convictions at the door was the price she had to pay as a citizen for the “privilege of being in business”.   Hence, she would apply her unique artistic talent to the dignification of homosexual marriage ceremonies to which she is morally opposed, a form of forced speech which in other circumstances  has been found to violate the 1st Amendment.    The U.S. Supreme Court, unfortunately, concurred with New Mexico by declining to review, since a 1993 prior ruling set a precedent that made it much harder to apply the bare 1st Amendment religious freedom protections without an effective RFRA.   It probably didn’t take liberal interests too long to figure out that a RFRA which excludes “laws of general applicability” works a heck of a lot better for them than one that is verbatim the Federal version, since this New Mexico decision came in approximately the same time frame as the  Hobby Lobby decision.

With regard to equal protection and due process under the 14th Amendment, all of the prior constitutional challenges to the unilateral divorce law in various states failed because there was not yet sufficient case precedents to empower the courts to apply any higher standard than “rational basis” to the cases.    Under this easy (sleazy) standard of review, all a state had to do is demonstrate that the law served a “legitimate” purpose, such as easing the cost of divorce on battered spouses, or ensuring that homemakers received a fair share of their employed spouse’s retirement if divorce was necessary.    They didn’t have to prove that the law actually accomplished any particular objective, so bad laws could live on even if some disfavored group was negatively and unfairly impacted or if profound unintended consequences resulted for society as a whole.

Precedents and criteria for “heightened” review started to slowly build in 1976, but really started to escalate just in the last two years with the HHS mandate cases (such as Hobby Lobby), and with the homosexual marriage cases.    Many of the latter have come over the summer of 2014 alone.    I remember sitting in that downtown Chicago law office in early July and relating how I had been repeatedly denied due process in both of our trials.   Both attorneys looked at me and said something to the effect of  “Well, they gave you a day in court and let you present evidence, right?”

(To which I replied, “By that standard, Jesus received due process!” )    That’s what “rational basis” does to the due process rights of disfavored parties – it makes them evaporate.

Under intermediate or heightened scrutiny, it becomes possible to make the case that the law has not accomplished its purpose and that there were better options available that either were not considered or were rejected.    Under heightened  or strict scrutiny, we can start to argue that the state didn’t have a good enough reason to elevate the rights of one spouse over the fundamental rights of the other by excluding marital misconduct from the equation.    Or that if they truly wanted, as they claimed, to stop “perjury collusion” in the case of two people who both wanted out of their marriage, it was neither rational nor necessary to impose unilateral divorce on everyone else, including contesting spouses who were morally opposed to divorce and had done absolutely nothing to harm their marriage or spouse.

It was well and good that I stood a pretty fair chance of prevailing on a religious discrimination argument.   RFRA explicitly compels the application of strict scrutiny if I can prove that the law was compelling me to violate my deeply-held religious convictions.    Since to preserve my dissipation claim, I was under pressure to agree that my marriage was “irretrievably broken”, was expected to have taken action to threaten divorce or actually file a divorce petition which would disobey God who only created marriage, not divorce.   I was further expected to separate our finances,  another violation of God’s prescribed order for the family roles.   I think we can make that case of showing that the law significantly burdens my biblical convictions.   That forces opposing counsel or the state of Illinois to prove that the state has a compelling interest in dismissing my dissipation claim for my failure to meet those expectations, which I doubt they can do.   Whatever that compelling interest might purport to be, they then have to prove there wasn’t a less burdensome route to achieving that interest.

In the Hobby Lobby case, the U.S. Supreme Court skipped discussion of “compelling interest” and jumped straight to the obvious circumstance that there were many less restrictive means of achieving their aim of providing no-cost contraceptives and abortifacients to Hobby Lobby employees.    So, I had to dig out another HHS case on a local pair of firms that had worked their way through the 7th Circuit to see a good definition of “compelling interest”.   State appellate judges are influenced by but not bound by Federal court definitions,  as I understand.   In Korte v Sebelius, November, 2013,  that Federal court described a compelling government interest as follows:

only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion….only the gravest abuses endangering paramount interests give occasion for permissible limitation.  The regulated conduct must pose some substantial threat to public safety, peace or order… Finally, a law cannot be regarded as protecting an interest of the highest order when it leaves appreciable damage to that supposedly vital interest unprohibited. “

It’s hard to imagine what could be said to convince the court that my conscience-based refusal to declare my marriage irretrievably broken or file for divorce or separate our finances was a “grave” abuse or that it threatened a state interest of the “paramount, highest order”, or posed a public threat of any sort.   It did consume higher than average court resources, I suppose – but just whose fault is that?  I neither asked to be in court, nor harmed my marriage or husband.  Is it not more true that the exclusion of marital misconduct provision in the the law itself creates the appreciable damage to the state’s interest in conserving court resources?

As I said before, all of that was well and good, but as Kingdom-builder and as a taxpayer, I am still not satisfied!   I believe the law discriminates just as badly against a disfavored and powerless class of people who may not hold any religious convictions at all, but hold moral convictions around the wholeness and integrity of their families.    The contribution of unilateral divorce to the poverty rates is well enough documented that the National Organization of Women stood in formal opposition to the 2010 New York legislation that enacted unilateral divorce in the 50th U.S. state because of the proven harsh economic impacts on women and children.    In other words, NOW recognized that UMDA (Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act) was not meeting its stated objectives after more than a 40 year run.

While many of the cases I’d been studying on equal protection and due process can be googled for free, as I became more serious about studying this myself, I learned that I could use a nearby university law library for free, much the way pioneer Judith Brumbaugh did 30 years ago in her fight against Florida’s unilateral divorce law.   Attorney funds are low after spending almost $100,000 in trials, and I could get by well for myself by narrowly focusing the attorneys on my religious freedom relief valve, but as more Federal courts weighed in over the summer on fundamental rights, “suspect” classes, and levels of scrutiny, I was determined to learn more and try to do as much damage to this immoral law as one woman, who has been given a providential opportunity, can do.    I realized I have the opportunity right now to inspire and empower people in other states, and expand the benefit of my efforts in my own state.    As the power and move of God would have it, the summer drew to a close while some Federal judges were chastising folks I truly admire at various religious freedom legal ministries because their state government clients seem fine with unilateral divorce despite its proven toxicity to society and its corrosiveness to marriage as an institution.   Amen!

I’m looking forward excitedly to working with as many religious freedom ministries as I can, though this particular cause is not politically popular with them.   Not realizing they prefer to be contacted  through attorneys,  I contacted five of them on my own initiative several months ago when it looked apparent that the court was going to brutalize me over my strong religious objections to divorce, and an appeal, one that I might not have enough money to see through, was going to be unavoidable.    I had a sense back then where God was taking this and why.    Yet they all told me pretty much the same thing, that they “didn’t do family law” (- unless, of course, there happened to be homosexuality involved.)   Never mind that I explained I already had a family law attorney and was merely looking for a constitutional specialist.   They didn’t think my case was a true religious freedom case at its core.   Any burden on my free exercise of religion was “only incidental”.     I was so relieved that I was able to engage a constitutional religious freedom attorney with my own resources, and one whom these ministries regularly work with.    Because this battle is the Lord’s,  and the true weapons of our warfare must be spiritual weapons, I was so pleased to see the following clauses in their representation agreement:

Priority of Building the Kingdom:  This representation is undertaken by Client and the Firm to build the Kingdom of God according to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.  Consequently, it shall be interpreted and performed with that objective.

(This blogger believes it’s not worth doing for any other goal or in any other spirit!)

Prayer:  The parties shall pray for each other frequently.   The Firm as a whole shall pray for Client monthly.

(Blogger is grateful beyond words.)

The next few weeks will have us going over trial transcripts and agreeing an approach to the appeal while meeting the various submission deadlines set by the appeals court.    I related earlier how the Lord providentially supplied the funds I needed years in advance of the need, but actually as the attack on our marriage was starting.   I’m now down to the “loaves and fishes”,  but confident that God will continue to provide all our needs.   That may include people as importantly as funds if my efforts are to benefit others.   What if the Lord moves my prodigal husband to repentance before the appeal runs its course?   Our case if not pursued with others as a class would become immediately moot, yet my highest priority would have to be my husband’s restoration to that Kingdom.   His soul is on the line here!    I covet the prayers of the saints that the Lord will have His way in everything.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!

  – Isaiah 30: 18

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall – Part 1

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall- Part 2

No Day in Court for (Stander) “Jane Doe”, Our Story – Part 4

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce

www. standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Story (7 Times Around the Jericho Wall) – Part 2

10309500_10152707748594350_3242621897583730435_n (2)

by Standerinfamilycourt.com

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding,  excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.   

But you did not learn Christ in this way,  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,  that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,  and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”    Ephesians 4:17-24

“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”                    1 Corinthians 11:3

Part 2:  FROM DECREE TO PREPARATION FOR APPEAL

Blogger’s Note:   the discussion that follows reflects only my own research and independent thought, and does not necessarily reflect the advice of my attorneys.  

 In my earlier post I described what it’s like to be an unwilling “Respondent”,  a conscientious objector,  as some 80% of us are, in state government’s 45-year war on the traditional family.

My husband was seeking to be awarded over $200,000 of my retirement assets after spending some $500,000 or more on a 9-year adulterous overseas relationship, using his corporate position, foreign bank accounts, expense accounts and credit cards that I did not gain visibility of until property division discovery began, in the aftermath of our bifurcated grounds trial.   (Bifurcation is where the judge rules that there will be a separate trial for grounds and for issues with the division of property.   The trials can occur many months apart in a financially complex case such as ours. )

A very dirty secret of the government divorce regime is that the combination of case law and enacted law applies a double-standard to the marriage contract in a very unique way compared with any other legal contract.   For purposes of dividing property, the body of binding case law, and the legislative history behind the statute, holds that marital misconduct cannot be applied because the marriage must be treated as an equal “economic partnership”.    However, this is a spurious false analogy because most non-marital financial partnerships have far greater protections from partner malfeasance.    Unlike the marriage contact, they are legally binding without due cause, and cannot be interfered with by subsequent legislation that would impair them (per Article 1 Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution)  – and they cannot be broken without mutual consent and just compensation.   By contrast, case law going all the way back to the late 1800’s and the U.S. Supreme Court holds that Article 1 Section 10 (and corresponding state constitution counterparts) uniquely cannot be applied to protect the marriage contract from ex post facto laws that would impair it.    At the time that the husband of my youth and I repeated our marriage vows, “irreconcilable differences” was not a ground for divorce,  either in our original state or the state to which we would move 26 years later.   The Illinois law that would impair our marriage contract wasn’t enacted until 3 years after our wedding day,  and wasn’t enacted in the state in which we actually said those vows until after our 35th wedding anniversary had passed.

How utterly shameful that as a result of applying this double standard, the essential covenant building block of our society that shapes the citizen character necessary to sustain our constitutional democracy into the next generation is afforded far less legal protection than the contractual “economic partnership” it is illegitimately compared to by the “no-fault” machinery!

Two hallmarks of corrosive, morally-repugnant legislation that undermines the wellbeing of society as a whole by creating special entitlements for a politically favored group:  (1) pernicious use  of a popular false analogy, and (2)  contortions in the implementation details that result in having it both ways when it comes to a given set of facts and circumstances.     Case law around dissipation claims presents a classic example when joined with the political effort to prevent marital misconduct from having a material case outcome.

 

Not every state has found it necessary to bar marital misconduct from consideration in the division of marital property,  which by law includes retirement assets.    About a dozen states expressly allow marital misconduct to be considered for this purpose.  This alone  calls into serious question the necessity of this heinous exclusion which heavily favors the offending spouse who brings the petition, and whether it is the least restrictive means of accomplishing a desirable, or even necessary,  government aim.   This is an enormously important question because, while recent statistics show that cohabitation has caused the marriage rate to decline-hence the divorce rate appears to have levelled off for couples under the age of 50, the widely-reported claim that the overall divorce rate is declining is false.   By contrast, the divorce rate has been very rapidly increasing for couples past the age of 50  This government policy seems to do very serious harm to non-offending spouses who are nearing retirement age,  particularly if they contest the divorce action on a moral, family-based objection and they have been the more responsible party financially (reflecting the high correlation between financial stewardship and staying out of adultery).

150106_880104912002610_4335354768896697939_n

The legal community in our state wrings its hands over the prevalence of dissipation claims and has passed several recent measures to curb them, even though the inherent flaw in the philosophy of the law itself makes them the only available avenue to economic justice for many innocent Respondents on whom divorce was unwillingly imposed.    Our judge displayed a particular contempt toward our well-founded and carefully documented dissipation claim, which consumed some 8 trial days to fully present, due to the extent of the financial abuse.    As we shall see with the further details of our case, certain aspects of the “no-fault” law are only enforceable against a contesting, non-offending spouse by the liberal application of double-standards and by having a certain set of facts interpreted “both ways”, depending on the phase of the bifurcated trial (grounds versus property).

In order to avoid a grounds trial once a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, a non-offending “Respondent” must affirm or at least not dispute any of the (effective) civil charges that have been levelled against them and against the marriage.   They must, in effect, “plead guilty” in their filed response to the petition,  affirming each of the following allegations which constitute the legal basis for a finding of “irreconcilable differences” (in many other states, Respondents are not actually afforded this opportunity) :

– that husband and wife have lived separately and apart continuously for at least 2 years (unless a cohabiting  “reconciliation attempt” has occupied a portion of that time)

– that dissolving the marriage is in the family’s best interest

– that all attempts to reconcile have failed

– that further attempts to reconcile would be impracticable

– that the marriage has undergone an “irretrievable breakdown”

No bible-believing follower of Christ could ever conscionably sign off on the majority of these allegations without dishonoring God who is an active Party in the marriage covenant, unless theirs was a non-covenant remarriage of the kind that Jesus would call adultery per Luke 16:18 and Matthew 5:32.    Moreover, once forced to civil trial, my Christian attorney and I attempted to bring significant evidence to individually refute each of these points because they simply were not true.

My husband, on the other hand, defended against what limited evidence of ours the judge would allow with outright perjury, both in his deposition and on the witness stand.   Due to court rules of evidence, it was far from a level playing field to begin with,  Plaintiff vs. Defendant,  “Petitioner” vs. “Respondent”.   My husband was openly permitted by the judge to reach far back into our decades-long marriage and drag out his version of isolated incidents some 20 years prior to buttress his allegations, but I and my attorney were restricted to bringing evidence of events that occurred only in the two years prior to the petition filing.    Procedural Due Process and Equal Protection violation  #1.   

The judge deemed my husband “the more credible witness” for purposes of ruling on the truthfulness of the grounds, although there was never a shred of evidence brought in the case to support the judge’s bias against my personal credibility.    After all, we couldn’t both be telling the truth.   On the other hand, the judge had every opportunity to observe that my husband’s testimony conflicted not only with mine but with the testimony of both of our adult children in sworn depositions which the judge specifically asked to read before he ruled.   At times my husband’s testimony on the witness stand conflicted with testimony in his sworn deposition.   Perjury is very hard to keep track of,  but someone who is telling the truth has no such conflicts – all of this escaped the judge’s notice (or regard).   Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and where there’s adultery, there’s inevitably perjury,  yet it was I, the “Respondent”  who was presumed not a credible witness.   In his official ruling of “irreconcilable differences”, the judge is on record as stating he believed I was “punishing” my husband’s good behavior in coming home (from his overseas job) for virtually every holiday, and for sleeping with me every time during the two years of “separation”;  I was punishing my husband with my decision to contest the grounds for divorce,  and because I sought to bring evidence to refute the civil allegations against me and against our decades-long marriage.   Love for my husband and reverence  for the clear instructions of God could not,  in the judge’s biased eyes, have plausibly motivated my behavior.   Substantive Due Process violation #1, based on my exercise of moral conscience and religious expression.

In two of the recent marriage redefinition cases, Robichaux v Caldwell (Louisiana), and Bishop v Smith (Oklahoma),   Federal judges discuss the role of animus against a “suspect” class of people in denying them their 14th Amendment rights to equal protection under the law.    According to these Federal precedents, animus can be shown to exist if  some structural aberration in the law is at issue, like the imposition of wide-ranging and novel deprivations upon the disfavored group or deviation from the historical  territory of the sovereign simply to eliminate privileges that the disfavored group might otherwise enjoy.”    Is it possible that the ruling cohort of the legal community,  in enforcing a blanket legislative preference for Petitioners, has developed just such an animus against contesting Respondents as a class such that boorish courtroom treatment of Respondents is a clear and consistent symptom?    What would it take to prove this?   Certainly the trend in recent legislation in our state has become progressively harsher to the rights of Respondents, who lack sufficient numbers, organization  or economic clout to defend themselves as a class from unjust legislation, and from oppressive court rules designed to systematically suppress evidence that might be unfavorable to the Petitioner.

 

Since my attorney and I made the Christ-honoring choice not to start financial discovery during the grounds phase of the trial, we were not aware of the massive financial abuse at the time the judge made his finding of “irreconcilable differences”.    Learning through family members that the circumstances which triggered my husband to suddenly file his petition after 7 years of status quo were of a superficial nature (his girlfriend was barred from his work country earlier that year for violating immigration laws under my husband’s management accountability),  we wanted to emphasize counseling and reconciliation, which in reality is what remains to be in the true best interest of our children and grandchildren.     However, the system is grossly biased against any genuine reconciliation attempts,  and actually throws up perverse incentives against reconciliation.

Under our state’s statute and relevant case law, dissipation is defined as the misuse of marital funds and assets for a purpose not supportive of the marriage after the marriage has begun an “irretrievable breakdown” (crossing a specific threshold).   My husband had used his senior position in the consulting firm where he worked to install his girlfriend as an employee and she also became the approver of his travel expense reports.   There was significant global travel involved with his work.   It was therefore necessary to include my husband’s company expense reports in the discovery requests, and to hire forensic accountants to adequately document our complex case, given the time constraints in my own fulltime employment.    My husband’s attorney brought several expensive but successful motions aimed at barring both the work and the expert testimony of the accountants, also at limiting the time frame allowed for the dissipation claim, and barring the claim itself.

Even after many adverse rulings, our evidence still represented air-tight documentation that my husband and his girlfriend had established a pattern of taking lavish pleasure trips at least monthly that were not reimbursed as business travel.   Despite substantial precedent in case law that should have precluded the judge from limiting the time frame of our claim, or rejecting the graphic category summaries of our evidence, or dismissing our expert witness accountants in the face of a very complex and employment-entangled international case, the judge ruled against us on all of these, changing his mind twice in ruling on the length of the dissipation period over which he would allow discovery and entertain evidence.   He also disregarded our evidence that my husband continued to spend abusively in contempt of court after a protective stay was issued in October, 2013.    He additionally allowed my husband’s substantial, willful noncompliance with discovery deadlines on multiple occasions and refused motions for continuance in relief of this.    Procedural Due Process and Equal Protection violations #2, 3, 4 and 5.

Then outrageously, and despite the admitted continuous presence of my rival, my husband’s attorney filed a motion in the closing days of the property trial asserting that marriage reconciliation “could have occurred at any point up to the date the petition was filed“, asking that the judge deem the petition filing date as the date of “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” and further asking that the many years of dissipation occurring prior to late 2012 be dismissed.   Despite the aforementioned case law that should have precluded this, the judge was only too happy to comply, saying it was justified because I contested the grounds and because, the judge said,  I still do not believe as a matter of conscience or on a biblical basis that our marriage is irretrievable (true enough, not that the law cares what my opinion or the opinion of our adult children is).

The judge had thereby found a way to punish me financially for my convictions, believing those convictions had unduly “punished” my husband.  Clearly, he was making a political example of me.   What should have been a provable $500,000 to $600,000 claim was thereby reduced to only $35,000.   The result was that he ordered a 50/50 split of our assets instead of the 60/40 split that would have preserved my retirement assets intact, and he arbitrarily ordered both our main residence and nearby vacation home sold, disregarding our reasonable recommendations to award the higher value property to my husband for (his) sale, and award the lower-value property to me for an ongoing residence that I could afford to maintain into my approaching retirement.   Substantive Due Process violation #2, based on my exercise of moral conscience and religious expression.

That judicial move, however, transformed our technical appeal into a constitutional appeal, one that caught the empathy of an experienced religious freedom law firm who agreed to take our appeals case.

 

At least one of the recent marriage redefinition case rulings, Bostic v Shaefer (Virginia) goes into an interesting discussion of the precedents defining a fundamental right.    Citing a 1943 Supreme Court case, West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette,  fundamental rights are those which are  “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if [they were] sacrificed.”   I believe there are numerous fundamental rights stripped from Respondents by the enforcement of the unilateral divorce system, all of which rights had been deeply rooted in the nation’s tradition and history until the enactment of state-by-state unilateral divorce laws commenced 45 years ago.    One does not have to read very far into a piece by Fathers’ Rights advocate Stephen Baskerville to see how basic liberty is routinely stripped without cause from some Respondents.    My own liberty to live in a home I currently own and could well afford with my future finances has been punitively stripped from me by this judge.    My fundamental right to reasonably defend my retirement was arbitrarily stripped from me simply for the crime of showing up in court to defend the sanctity of my marriage, as is my basic constitutional right.   If homosexuals as a class sharing a chosen, non-immutable shared emotional characteristic may claim a fundamental right to get married to the person of their choice (as has been recently ruled in numerous states across the land and allowed by the U.S.  Supreme Court to stand due to lack of review),  then contesting Respondents as a morally-defined and politically disfavored class have a fundamental right to stay married to the person of their choice, absent some just cause proven against them.   This is before even touching my 1st Amendment right to freedom of conscience and religious exercise toward my God-given marriage.

Once handed down,  appellate rulings in divorce cases are readily retrievable online these days from a simple Google or Bing search without a legal subscription service.   Because by 2013, several innocent family members now worked for my husband’s firm, which was likely to be explicitly named in the eventual published case, we filed a motion to proceed with our appeal under a fictitious name, “Jane and John Doe”  and “XYZ Company.”   I love my husband and want to do everything I can to leave the door open for his return to fellowship with the Lord and to reconciliation with our family.   I feel a moral responsibility to pursue this important appeal for the good of society if that’s the Lord’s assignment for me, but I also don’t want to deliberately make myself the direct instrument of retribution.   I believe my role is to stay out of the way of correcting natural consequences God brings to my husband as a result of his own actions, but not to step into that role myself if it can be avoided.   The court made its bias plain that I should have spared my husband of any consequences altogether by readily consenting to what God’s word forbids.   To accomplish this, I should have modeled the principle of disposable covenants for the edification of my watching children and their spouses,  grandchildren and their future spouses.

Whether we win or lose on appeal, public details of my husband’s breach of fiduciary responsibility to his firm is likely to harm his firm’s existing and potential client relationships, given the nature of that business.   Incredibly, my husband’s attorney filed a response actively opposing our motion, even though it was in my husband’s very obvious best interest for the judge to grant the anonymity.

Proverbs 12: 4 –  A capable wife is her husband’s crown, but a wife who causes shame is rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 31: 12 –  The heart of her husband trusts in her.  She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life.

I should say here that my attorney did not feel it was prudent to base our filed anonymity motion on these true family concerns, so he instead filed the motion based on potential damage to my own safety and well-being should there be additional political opponents to our constitutional appeal.    The trial judge erroneously treated our motion as though we had requested that the case be wholly impounded, and therefore denied our motion based on “the public’s right to know”,  which we now have to appeal.

We have also filed several stay motions that the trial court judge denied, which are now going to the appeals court.   My husband and I have each spent about $100,000 so far in legal fees, about 80% of which were incurred in the property / dissipation phase of our two trials where the main issue was my pension and his failure to provide for his own retirement due to dissipation of marital assets.   Tens of thousands of dollars alone were spent on respectively combatting and defending my right as a Respondent to the sort of due process that everyone else takes for granted under the system of justice outside of Family Law Court.

In the meantime, I have taken up a bit of legal research myself in order to be a better-informed consumer of constitutional law services than I was of family law services.  I have sought to record my learnings over this long journey in the hopes of being helpful to others in the future.   I drew inspiration here from reading Judith Brumbaugh’s excellent book, “Judge, Please Don’t Strike that Gavel on My Marriage.”    Judith is an amazing saint who has gone before, back in the 1980’s when she brought what was probably one of the nation’s first religious freedom constitutional challenges to Florida’s unilateral divorce law, which is actually harsher than Illinois’ (unless HB1452 passes in the Illinois Senate this fall).     Judith was cut off early from funds to pay attorney fees, and incredibly she taught herself at the local library to represent herself after she became the victim of a judge who also was determined to make a political example of anyone who would dare contest a “no-fault” divorce based on a biblical stand for her covenant marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw  (SIFC Updateto the praise and glory of God,  the prayers of the saints in Illinois were heard and the 2013-2014 Illinois legislative session ended without passing HB1452 despite its earlier lopsided margin of victory in the state house of representatives.)  This mercy defeats accelerated family destruction and increased poverty that would have otherwise devastated thousands of additional families across the state.

There are some legal environment factors today that I believe are changing by the month concerning marriage rights, equal protection and due process, and are very different now than in those earlier days of unsuccessful constitutional challenge of “no-fault” divorce, which I will cover (attorney advice permitting) in my next post.

Malachi 3:5  –

 “I will come to put you on trial [state family law courts ,who trample My Covenant].   I will be quick to testify against … adulterers, lying witnesses, and those who cheat workers out of their wages and oppress widows and orphans.  I will also testify against those who deprive foreigners of their rights.  None of them fear me,” says Yahweh Tsebaoth  [ the God of Angel Armies].”

I close this post by wryly pointing out that the above promise from God started to be fulfilled in 2014  when Judge Steven Reinhardt of the 9th Federal Circuit called out state unilateral divorce laws in his ruling in Latta v Otter striking down the constitutional vote of the people of the states of Idaho and Nevada to define marriage as one man and one woman.     Standerinfamilycourt is in the process of reviewing all of the 2014 marriage redefinition cases, a time-consuming undertaking!

Judge Reinhardt_statesmotives

Jesus warned that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”.   God will not be mocked!

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall – Part 1

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall- Part3

No Day in Court for (Stander) “Jane Doe”, Our Story – Part 4

 

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

standerinfamilycourt.com