This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Is Divorce Just a Piece of Paper?

This has been an issue debated many times and there is now a great topic on the forum where this issue is just one of the debates in the thread.

Thread: Divorce and MLC

Some people mean to reassure Standers by telling them divorce is just a piece of paper. They use the phrase as a way of honoring marriage and marriage vows. But then there are those who feel that the phrase itself may be dishonoring because if divorce is just a piece of paper, then so is marriage. Both of those groups have the same intentions: to honor marriage.
Then there is the religious portion. Some treat marriage as a strict covenant, some as a covenant but without a literal or fundamentalist stringency and some understand and appreciate the religious perspective, but they themselves are not religious.
Let’s look at the benefits to seeing divorce as just paper as well as the why it is not just a piece of paper. For some of these I have generalized statements from various Standers—in the thread I mentioned as well as through my years in forums. For others I have use direct statements, in such cases the text is green. Many of these examples are various ways of saying the same things.

Because I got a bit wordy (Shock!), I have divided this post into two segments; Divorce is not Just a Piece of Paper will run tomorrow.

Divorce is Just a Piece of Paper

Even after divorce a connection remains.
I know of a Stander who happens to be atheist. Her MLCer went through with the divorce process while living at home. He then left a few times, but there was no specific alienator and he did not seem to really move out, he just visited somewhere else. His search for Self seemed a bit more overt because it was not being masked by infidelity and high-energy Replay. He kept coming home. She even moved and when he was done with his visit—they usually lasted a few months—he came back to her at the new place. He did not tell his family about the divorce and he resumed marital relations when home. The only change was in the legal status of their relationship. There were behavioral changes—depression, but that did not change the state of their mated-partnership.
Were there additional consequences such as a change in health benefits? I don’t know. They worked together and she had to leave when she moved because their employment was tied to their housing. This is an extreme example. Most MLCers acknowledge the legal status even if only in a minor way. Where are they now? The same place. He is a low-energy MLCer, a type I think may be more prone to not acknowledging a divorce.

It’s about the commitment.
Some couples do not marry and yet they have been in a committed relationship for 10, 20, 30+ years. Yes, when there is a divorce it tends to mean that one person is not longer committed. But that does not mean the Stander’s commitment to the marriage and vows will change.

Divorce doesn’t change how I feel.
This is not true for everyone, but going to court and having some outside part declare the end of a marriage does not cause some magical hatred to happen. It doesn’t take way the pain, the betrayal or the love.

Divorce will not give the MLCer what they are looking for. The MLC process trumps the divorce.
So the divorce is real but that reality is different than an MLCer’s expectations. MLCer’s sometimes change their minds regarding the legal status—reversing the divorce.

Contract Versus Covenant
A divorce is just paper because it refers to the legal and civil status; it severs the business relationship. It has no control over the emotional status of either party. The civil marriage license was also just paper; it was the business contract of the civil union.

The Religious Stand: Marriage is a Covenant, not a Contract
Divorce is just a piece of paper because it is not recognized as having any validity by God, by the Church (in some churches), or by the Standing spouse. That does not mean life does not change. It has nothing to do with finances, health benefits or child-custody and it is separate from civil implications. Render unto Caesar…

He’s nuts; I don’t recognize it because I do not think he had the mental capacity to make the decision to divorce.
He is not in his right mind; he cannot make a clear decision about anything. If he were to move forward with divorce at this point, it would be most likely from the prodding of others and not at all what he means to do. He openly says that he doesn’t trust his decisions so he makes none.

It is meaningless until you place belief into the word.
But it is just a piece of paper. The Bible is just many pieces of paper. Divorce does not become real until both partners put their faith into that piece of paper.
That may offend some who take the Bible literally or for whom it is sacred. But it’s true. For me the Bible is a sacred document—though I don’t take it literally. But I do not expect someone who is Hindu to have the same reverence. Such a person may or may not respect the book or the beliefs supports, but it is not fair to hold someone to the faith of another. The only person that has to believe in your marriage is you. That doesn’t mean you will have a partner sharing your life. Your MLCer may not believe in it, your parents, children, siblings or friends may not believe in it. They may all think you are nuts. If you are denying that there was a real change in the legal status, they may be correct. Refusing to acknowledge divorce is not meant as a denial of legal status. It is simply a maintenance of personal commitment to vows amidst the changes brought on by the change in legal status.

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