No Consent Divorce South of the Border
The Supreme Court of Mexico recently caused a bit of controversy by backing up divorce laws changes that allow one spouse to request and obtain a divorce without the agreement of the other. The Supreme Court waited until March 2011 to declare the reforms set down in October 2008 by the Mexico City Legislative Assembly to be constitutional and enforceable laws in Mexico. The oddly structured law requires only that divorce petitioners be married for at least one year, one of them wants a divorce, and that one spouse has a recent address in Mexico City.
It didn’t take long for family experts to start complaining that the Supreme Court of Mexico’s decision to uphold the new law is actually promoting the destruction of the family unit in that country and that it also violates two significant juridical principles. Patricia Becerra, an expert on the theology of marriage, was quoted saying “The first is that no contract can grant one party the power to dissolve without the consent of the other, and the second is that no one can use one’s bad faith to his or her own benefit.”
Becerra is one of the most outspoken critics of the new law and she points out that prior to the law, the government did not encourage divorce and that now it seems that the government actually wants families to separate. She also argued that it is the judges and lawyers who benefit most from the faster track divorces. The new law lets one person initiate a divorce even if the other spouse is willing to try to save the marriage. The law is patently unfair because it allows one person to unilaterally break a contract that was created by two people. Becerra also stressed that there are many ways to strive for reconciliation between spouses and achieve forgiveness before resorting to divorce.
The Archdiocese of Mexico City weighed in on the subject when it published a statement that said “Uniting together in the hope of having a life-long union is the initial dream of every couple that decides to marry. However, in many cases, that dream is obscured by the difficulties of daily life, by common failings such as the lack of communication, the inability to forgive and selfishness.”
Two directors of the archdiocese’s Marriage Encounter project added, “In our view, the first mistake is the lack of preparation before marriage, and that is the root of most of the problems that lead couples to divorce.” Other problems “include the lack of communication, not knowing how to forgive, the lack of commitment and of love of God,” they said. To further express their supreme disappointment, the directors concluded that “after this new law was passed, the dream of “˜till death do us part’ has been broken.”