Legal appeal challenges civil no-fault divorce unconstitutional

.- An Ohio mother of four has launched a constitutional appeal against an Ohio civil divorce and custody decision, arguing her religious beliefs and free speech were used against her in the proceedings.

Marie “Bai” Macfarlane’s husband abandoned her and their four children in 2003 and began no-fault divorce proceedings. Macfarlane is a stay-at-home mother and devout Catholic who homeschooled her children until 2004.

Her potentially precedent-setting appeal was submitted by Ave Maria School of Law professor Stephen Safranek. The Constitutional Law professor argues: “The civil courts do not have sole authority to end her marriage or to control the upbringing of her children. These religious and moral beliefs may be considered alien or quaint in our culture. Yet, the holding fast to such beliefs should not result in discrimination against a mother.”

Macfarlane said she and her husband had agreed to marry for life. “Even if disputes arose, I expected that we would resolve them as Catholics, from the Church’s moral position,” she said.

However, the civil divorce court refused to allow a third party arbitrator, the ecclesiastic authority of the Catholic Church, to determine separation procedures, financial settlements and custody of the children, despite legal precedents set in cases of Jewish or Islamic marriages.

Further, the appeal argues the Guardian for the children in the case was hostile to Macfarlane’s religious views and did not act properly in defending the interests of the children.

The Guardian removed them from their mother’s care although the court psychologist report states the children, “do want more time with their mom” and the older boys “were adamant supporters of homeschooling.”

The court gave the father, who works full time, permanent custody and their stay-at-home mom visitation.

“I was forced to stop homeschooling my three older children. My youngest child is in daycare although I am willing to stay home and care for my children,” said MacFarlane. “I have no right to make any decision regarding their upbringing. Finally, although we as a family poured our lives and savings into a non-profit foundation, my husband runs it and I have been ordered to get another job.”

Macfarlane founded www.marysadvocates.org for people concerned about no-fault divorce. To learn about Safranek’s public interest law firm, visit www.truemarriage.net.

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?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: