Christian Husband with Covenant Marriage Agreement
 vs. Routine No-Fault Divorce 

by Martin Barillas Friday, March 05, 2010
March 5, 2010
From: Mary's Advocates
Story Location: Cleveland OH

Christian Husband with Covenant Marriage Agreement
vs. Routine No-Fault Divorce


Bai Macfarlane, Mary's Advocates, Westlake OH, 330-690-8942
Paul Neumann, Defendant in Divorce, North Olmsted OH 440-281-5324


Mike McManus, Marriage Savers, Potomac MD, 301-469-5873
Mike Galluzzo, National Organization for Parental Equality, St.Paris OH, 937-727-4505
Bob Christensen,, Golden CO, 303-277-1338


Paul Neumann, 3/1/2010 criminal court, probation hearing
Judge Brian Hagan, 3/1/2010 criminal court,

* * *

A Christian husband is citing Ohio Law to protect his family from no-fault divorce. Months ago, Paul Neumann was fully supporting his stay-at-home wife and their daughter in their North Olmsted home. Now he is a defendant in Cuyahoga County divorce court. He submitted his wife's signed wedding covenant agreement to the court because she promised to uphold her obligations in accordance with the "Commandments of God given in His Word" and "the divine laws and ordinance for the governance of marriage."

Neumann is giving the court an ultimatum: either his wife committed fraud on their wedding day and tricked him into marriage, or she intended to be married in conformity with the rules of their church (see filing 2.1 MB).

If she committed fraud, the parties were never really married and the court can't take away his property and force him to pay alimony.

In Ohio, argues Neumann, it is criminal for Christian pastors to conduct wedding ceremonies without requiring couples to get a state marriage license. Ohio Law specifies that parties can marry in conformity with the rules of their church.

"We wanted a Christian marriage" Neumann said in and interview. "I'm shocked that another Bible believing Christian would bring the world into my marriage rather those in the church who are experts in resolving marital conflict according to the 6000 year principles of God's Word."

Criminal Charges for Trying to Save Marriage and See Daughter

After his wife became apparently unhappy with their marriage, Neumann was supporting her in a separate apartment with the understanding that they would reconcile their marital issues. Instead, his wife filed criminal charges against him for "menacing by stalking." Stalking is knowingly acting in ways that would make his wife believe he was trying to harm her. Neumann says he never harmed his wife, and he is only asking for reconciliation.

If Neumann's wife actually married him, according to Ohio law, she is contractually obligated to be respectful, faithful and supportive of Paul. Further, Neumann's wife is required by law to support him with her labor and property. Supporting one's spouse with labor and property could simply mean doing her share of household chores, raising their daughter, or bringing in money to support the family.

Because of his wife's stalking charge, the Rocky River Criminal Court has Neumann on probation. He was hauled back into criminal court yesterday for violation probation; he left a phone message with his wife asking to make arrangements for him to spend time with their four-year-old daughter. She has not seen Daddy in over one month. In criminal probation hearing on March 1st, Neumann was told if he calls his wife again, he'll be sent to jail.

Neumann has asked the divorce court to schedule him to spend time with his daughter, but no order has been forthcoming.

Hope for the Hurting

As a Christain husband, Neumann has hope they can be happily married and doesn't want his daughter to spend her childhood going back and forth between two households.

Mike McManus, founder of Marriage Savers, helps communities lower their divorce rate with trained mentoring couples. He said in an interview, "The fact is that most marriages can be saved." He cites two proofs. "About 80,000 couples have gone to Retrouvaille. Four out of five are saved though they all begin with little hope. Even marriages in crisis can be turned around after separation." McManus further explains, "In a study conducted in the early 80's, 5000 couples in crisis marriage situations were interviewed. Five years later, it was found that of those who did not divorce, 86% said they were happily married."

McManus says, "All marriages go through periods that are worse. The purpose of the vows to stay together for better or worse is to hold couples together during the worse times. If the church provides help we can save most marriages."

The State's Vested Interest in Divorce

Neumann just was ordered by divorce court to pay his wife nearly half of his take-home pay.

Mike Galluzzo, an Ohio resident, and founder of the National Organization for Parental Equality says, "The county agencies have a vested interest in keeping children from having equal parenting time with both parents. If the county can force Neumann to only have minimal visitation time with his daughter, they then can collect larger amounts of child support." If the courts expected stay-at-home moms to be faithful to their contractual marital obligations, Galluzzo explains, "there would be less financial support collected, which would result in less federal government incentive awards. Every time the county agency funnels $1000 of support to Paul's wife, who wants a no-fault divorce, the Ohio Law requires the county to collect an additional $20.00 (2%) from Paul to pay their own salaries, overhead expenses, etc." Galluzzo also points out that, "thousands of dollars are collected by divorce attorneys too."

No-Fault Divorce

With no-fault divorce, the state breaks apart a family though no one committed adultery or was abusive. In Neumann's filing with the court, he explains forcing no-fault divorce on him is wrong. "It is a violation of the U.S. Constitution to force the parties or the Minister to accept the terms of a marital contract with its associated obligations and rights that are in direct violation of the expressed intentions of those knowingly entering the marital contract."

McManus, founder of Marriage Savers, says that no-fault divorce, "is unjust to the spouse who in good faith pledged to remain faithful till death and unjust to children who deserve to have both a mother and a father together." He says, "No-fault divorce is a violation of both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. No one should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process. How can there be due process if the divorce is always granted?" In McManus' book, How to Cut the Divorce Rate in Half, he proposes that in cases where there are minor children, divorce should only be granted if both parents agree, with the exception of cases of proven adultery or abuse.

Covenant Marriage Movement

Dr. Bob Christensen, founder and pastor of Covenant Marriages Ministry, in an e-mail interview says, "The Covenant Marriage Agreement is the same as any other pre or post nuptial agreement that a couple may make. It should be routinely fully recognized in the Court. It has the added strength of being a covenant made before God with the strength of a God ordained covenant. Judges, daily recognize pre and post nuptial agreements in their courts. But in truth, a judge has no power to dissolve a Christian marriage covenant, any more than he can dissolve the covenant of salvation God has made with a Christian who confesses Jesus as Lord. Who would believe such a thing? Yet, the courts are behaving as though a God-ordained covenant can be broken by a judge."

Equal parenting proponents and Christian marriage defenders are asking, why are criminal and civil courts disregarding both the Ohio Laws about a wife's obligation toward her husband and the laws about her obligations promised in conformity with the rules of the couple's church.

In Neumann's case, he asked the court to stop the divorce proceedings and issue and order for arbitration. Dr. Christensen says, "If a Bible believing arbitrator truly understands the strength of the marriage covenant, professed by two Christians, he, by all rights should encourage the couple to total reconciliation, especially in view of the no-fault divorce laws of a State. The courts should have no power to attempt to dissolve a Christian covenant of marriage, especially when one party to that covenant wishes to uphold his/her obligation to God and to spouse."

Neumann is still waiting for the court to explain their basis in law for dismissing his motion for an arbitration order.

1    submitted by Martin Barillas
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