Lawyer argues divorce case should be transferred to Church tribunal

.- An Ohio woman’s fight to save her Catholic marriage from civil no-fault divorce took another important turn when Ave Maria School of Law professor Stephen Safranek submitted an argument to the state court. His memorandum, submitted on behalf of the defendant, Marie Bai Macfarlane, argues that the divorce case must be transferred to a Catholic Ecclesiastic Tribunal for arbitration.

Safranek argues that Ohio law “favors arbitration agreements and seeks to uphold them.” He cited legal precedents in favor of arbitration, including cases where religious tribunals were the arbitrators.

“A failure of the courts to recognize the arbitration rights of the Catholic Church in this case not only violates the understanding Marie had when she entered upon this marriage, it necessarily entangles this court in issues relating to Catholic law, teaching, faith and belief,” wrote Safranek.

After nearly 14 years of marriage, Macfarlane’s husband, William “Bud” Macfarlane, filed for divorce. The former engineer and stay-at-home mother lost custody of her four children to her husband when she insisted on continuing to home-school them.

Her husband’s attorney, Tom Lafond, has argued that the Church should not be allowed to arbitrate the case.

“My husband and I didn’t agree to the minimal government marriage; we agreed to be under the authority of a third party, the ecclesiastic authority of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law,” says Macfarlane.

“If either of us wants to separate, we are still obligated to follow the Church’s separation procedures, not the state’s minimum procedures,” she continued. “Ohio law ORC 3101.08 recognizes church's right to marry people 'in conformity with the rules of its church'.”

According to the Catholic Code of Canon law, a person can only seek a divorce from the state after the person has first obtained a separation decree from the Church court as well as their bishop’s authorization. The Church court makes determinations regarding financial support and children.

“I believe in the sanctity of marriage and I want my children home with me,” Macfarlane said.

The Cleveland Tribunal and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati rejected her petition to determine whether her husband has “a lawful reason to leave” the marriage. Her case is now before the highest court at the Vatican, the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

For Safranek’s memorandum, go to: http://www.marysadvocates.org/safranek.html

A petition urging the U.S. bishops to protect families from no-fault divorce is available at www.defendusfromdivorce.com.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: