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covenant marriage

A covenant marriage is a type of marriage that is only available in Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana. In a covenant marriage the spouses promise that (1) they will participate in marriage counseling before filing for divorce; (2) agree to a longer waiting period before the divorce can be finalized; and (3) must allege fault grounds for the divorce (cannot seek a divorce on no-fault grounds such as irreconcilable differences).

Laws vary among states that recognize covenant marriages, but in a covenant marriage a spouse seeking a divorce generally must allege fault grounds such as:

• Adultery by the other spouse;

• Commission of a felony by the other spouse and sentence of imprisonment at hard labor or death;

• Abandonment by the other spouse for one year;

• Physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or of a child of either spouse; or

• The spouses have lived separate and apart for two years; or the spouses are judicially or legally separated and have lived separate and apart since the legal separation for (a) one year and six months if there is a minor child or children of the marriage; (b) one year if the separation was granted for abuse of a child of either spouse; or (c) one year in all other cases.

In Texas, covenant marriages are not recognized as a distinct type of marriage. Therefore, the specific provisions that apply to covenant marriages in states like Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana, such as mandatory marriage counseling before filing for divorce, longer waiting periods, and the requirement to allege fault grounds for divorce, do not apply in Texas. Texas allows for both no-fault divorce, on grounds such as 'insupportability' (irreconcilable differences), and fault-based divorce, for reasons including adultery, cruelty, felony conviction and imprisonment, abandonment, living apart for at least three years, and confinement in a mental hospital. Couples in Texas can, however, voluntarily agree to premarital or postmarital counseling, and can enter into prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that may affect the terms of a potential divorce.

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What is Covenant Marriage? Understanding an Uncommon Legal Union
covenant marriage, while not widely recognized, is a type of marriage that serves as a testament to couples wanting to emphasize commitment in both spiritual and legal terms.