“QUICK DIVORCE PROCEDURES”
By Jeff Belknap
On Thursday, September 27, 2001 brother Harry Osborne sent an e-mail letter to myself; Joe Price; Terence Sheridan; Pat Donahue; Mike Willis; David McKee; Tim Haile and Stan Cox.
At the end of this letter he wrote:
“P.S. The two files attached are being sent as examples of the quick divorce procedures available in some places. Thought you might like to have them on file for future reference.”
When I opened the attached files, they revealed that on 9-11-01, brother Wayne Goforth sent the following two web site files to brothers Ron Halbrook, Harry Osborne and Tim Haile. It is important that we examine these web sites, lest the information on them is also twisted [as were the Nevada divorce laws by these same three men (please see The Nevada Strawman on my website)].
Website # 1
The two types of divorces offered through this site are as follows:
MUTUAL CONSENT, where both sign. (Both individuals ask for the divorce and sign the forms.)
NON CONSENT, where only one signs. This option is available only when the defendant’s address is unknown or when the spouse's signature cannot be attained. In this case, the court will supply a notification to be publicly posted. If there is no response from the defendant within seven days, the divorce will be awarded to the plaintiff (by default).
Neither of these types of divorce represent the scenarios that brothers Halbrook, Osborne and Haile have reported in the past (shown in quotes on my web site document, The Nevada Strawman).
Website # 2
Though one of the web sites brother Goforth found states that foreign divorces were tried three times in the U.S. and upheld as valid and binding, it is important to note that the subjects of these foreign “quick divorces” (that were upheld upon appeal to American courts) were all MUTUAL CONSENT divorces, or divorces where the parties had been legally separated for over a year. www.dominicandivorce.com/decision.html
There is no evidence that any state in the U.S. would recognize a divorce which only considered the interests of one of its citizens in a divorce that affects both. Foreign courts may only be interested in the rights of the plaintiff who pays for the divorce, but such is not the case in our country. Our country requires that both parties have representation, unless there is proof that the defendant cannot be found, in which case a particular procedure must be followed. Moreover, if a person desires for his foreign divorce to be recognized in our country, it is apparent that the divorce must be in accordance with the laws of the state in which the parties reside. At the above web site, in one of the cases upheld by the Supreme Court of the U.S., this was their finding:
“The Supreme Court, Fones, J., held that: (1) where both parties asserted validity of the Dominican Republic decree, and neither raised any question as to jurisdiction of the Dominican Republic court over parties or subject matter and both continued to assert that each was bound by the property settlement agreement, comity would be granted to the divorce, and (2) the state was not as matter of law required to grant comity to any foreign decree, but the decision to grant comity in the given situation was purely a question of state law on which summary judgment was appropriate. Decree affirmed.” (emp. jhb)
Under the OPINION section following the above case, Justice Fones writes, “The rule of comity to be gleaned from these cases is that, where the law of another jurisdiction is applicable, Tennessee will enforce the substantive rights which litigants have under the laws of the other jurisdiction if such rights are not contrary to the policy of Tennessee. Id.” (emp. jhb)
In other words, the state was not obliged to recognize the foreign divorce, but since: (1) the validity of the divorce was mutually agreed upon by both parties and (2) the divorce was not inconsistent with state law, it was upheld. Obviously, if the divorce had been unilateral (failing to reflect consideration of the rights and interests of the defendant, as is required in each state of the U.S. - even Nevada), then it would likely have been overturned by the state as invalid.
In addition, a Texas court found similarly: “In conclusion, the law and facts in this case indicate that, because the worker and the claimant were domiciled in Texas rather than Haiti when the divorce decree was entered, a Texas court could refuse to recognize the Haitian divorce as valid. The claimant, however, is the only person with standing to challenge the degree. Because she submitted to the jurisdiction of the Haitian court, agreed to a property settlement, and then subsequently acted in recognition of the divorce as valid, SSA believes that she would be estopped rom (sic) denying the validity of the divorce. Therefore, SSA concludes that the divorce would stand as valid, making the claimant ineligible to receive widow's benefits under section 202(e)(1) of the Act. Moreover, because the claimant was married only 4 years prior to the divorce rather than 10 years as required by section 216(d)(1) of the Act, she would also be ineligible as a surviving divorced spouse.” (emp. jhb)
These cases are in no way similar to the scenarios that brothers Ron Halbrook, Harry Osborne and Tim Haile have publicly proclaimed as a possibility [i.e. a “quick (three day waiting period) divorce,” in which the innocent spouse / defendant has no prior knowledge of, or consent to the divorce]. In his Lakeland sermon, after having claimed particular knowledge of such a case (which on the website document, The Nevada Strawman, has since been proven impossible), brother Osborne actually spells out the ominous conclusion which he hopes the hearer will accept from the citing of that situation: “If civil procedure is the putting away, that woman was divorced, didn’t know about it, and there is no way she can be protected by the law of God.”
Nevertheless, even if the Nevada cases these men reported as fact were actual (and they are not), brothers Halbrook, Osborne and Haile’s numerous references to emotionally stirring scenarios do nothing but build a case on unfortunate legal possibilities, without the force of scripture. We must never lose sight of the reality that unjust civil circumstances CANNOT modify the Lord’s teaching (Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Lk. 16:18). According to scripture, authority is derived from the gospel (Col. 3:17), not past or present situational ethics (cp. w. I Tim. 6:3-5; II Tim. 2:23-25). We are taught “not to think beyond” (NKJV) or “exceed” (NASV) “what is written” (I Cor. 4:6; II Cor. 10:5). Faith comes by hearing “the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). We are to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it does not speak (I Pet. 4:11). That is HOW we establish authority, NOT through showing how (supposed) present day circumstances adversely affect the innocent party in an unscriptural divorce. Brethren, beware of a doctrine which is so feeble as to require fictitious scenarios to prejudice the hearer, through bolstering a sense of human injustice. Do not place your faith in man. Refuse to be influenced by scenarios. Distrust human emotion. Trust the scriptures!