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Fighting Against No-Fault Divorce in Texas

Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2017

Three long years ago, my husband and I separated. The intention was to work on our marriage; I never thought it would turn into divorce.

I know the agony of a broken home. My parents divorced when I was not quite two years old. My mother remarried, but their marriage ended ten years later, just a month before my own wedding. I thought, If this is how marriages turn out, do I ever want to be married? But I also knew that my husband and I were both Christians. No matter what difficulties we would face, we would face them together, I told myself. We married almost 20 years ago.

So, what happened?

In a word: offense. My husband and I did hurtful things out of our own pain and immaturity instead of solving the real problems in our relationship. We can be hurt by others and yet not take up offense. Offense happens when we compare ourselves to one another, instead of in humility comparing ourselves with Christ. We need look no further than the Cross of Christ to see the cost of our own sin, to feel the weight of the price that was paid for our mistakes to be forever removed. Our obligation, having received such a gift, is to give it away, to share it, by forgiving others. No matter how badly I have sinned or been sinned against, it is nothing compared to all my sins put together that Christ had to forgive for me. Should we do anything except fall with our faces to the ground, crying out great thanksgiving to God for His mercy? Having received such a gift, do we owe anything less than complete forgiveness to our brothers and sisters?

The enemy of our souls had fed us a lie, that our situation was hopeless. With Christ, there is no such thing as hopelessness! We got to the point where we told ourselves, I can’t take any more of this. But in hind sight, the pain we experienced then is nothing compared to what we’ve been through since. Oh, how I wish I could go back, put my hands firmly on my own shoulders, look myself in the eyes and say, “STOP. Now. If you go any further, you will experience pain and sorrow that no English words can accurately describe.” I would have dropped all offenses immediately. I would have apologized faster. I would have repented sooner. I would have guarded my mouth with utmost diligence. And I would have realized with great sobriety just how easily divorce can happen in our culture.

Davis and children at the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol Building

 


 

We would do well to heed the Proverb: Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster (17:19, NLT).

Days became weeks, weeks became months, and then that message I’ll never forget: “I want a divorce.” Despite my desire for reconciliation, our family is still facing permanent division. A wise man once told me: divorce is like tearing a tree in two. Trees don’t rip neatly; they tear. If you’ve ever heard a large branch break off a tree, the tearing is loud and violent. To me, ‘divorce’ means “division by force.” Three times now in my life: once as a toddler, once as a grown adult, and now as a wife and mother, divorce has been forced upon me, and there is nothing outside of prayer I can do about it. All three have happened in the state of Texas, and all three under the “no-fault divorce” system put into place before I was even conceived. Forty years of agony. If you’ve been through it, I need not explain how it feels.

Back in January, just a few short months ago, I sat in my attorney’s office working on draft #3 of our divorce decree. I asked my attorney, “At what point can I stand up and say to the judge that I don’t agree with this, that I don’t think our marriage is irreconcilable? Or insupportable?” Her reply, “Well, you can say it at final trial, if the case goes to final trial, but it won’t matter. The judge will still grant the divorce, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s the law.” It all seems so very wrong. Why can a judge who has never met my husband, myself, or our children, agree that our marriage relationship cannot be reconciled and our family healed? Why is this ok, if one of the two parties in this court case disagrees with the “charge” of insupportability, especially the defendant?

About a week after that meeting, however, a friend and mentor of mine shared with me, “Have you heard about this new bill in the Texas House? They are asking for the repeal of no-fault divorce.” I couldn’t believe my ears! You mean, someone is standing up against this decades-old failed social experiment? I looked it up online. I wrote to my Representative. (Did I mention we are a homeschooling family?) And thanks to a homeschooling program called Capitol Days put on by Texas Home School Coalition, I found myself in the state capitol with my four children less than a month later, on my birthday. Though we were tired by the end of the afternoon, we made one more stop and went by the office of the Representative brave enough to author this bill, just to share our story, just to say thank you.

They asked me if I would testify for the bill.

I could not have asked for a better birthday gift! After feeling helpless against divorce for so long, I was given an opportunity to do something about it.

On March 8, I went back to Austin to testify for House Bill 93, authored by Representative Matt Krause. I was overwhelmed, as out of the millions of people who have suffered this tragedy in my state alone, I was among eight in the office that day, ready to stand for marriage with this Bill. The Committee gave me about 3 minutes to tell them what I had waited about 40 years to say: Making divorce easy makes for disaster. The local news asked for an interview. You can view it here.

While I was there, I met another person who had shown up to testify, a constitutional law attorney. He was willing to say that no-fault divorce cases are without due process, and it is therefore unconstitutional to have such a law. He said he would challenge the Legislature’s law right up to the Supreme Court of Texas if he could find someone willing. I knew I had to ask if my case qualified; I was willing.

The attorney and I spoke. We were on a very short court schedule, so getting everything we needed done in such a short time would be difficult. I needed two things: 1) an extension to one court deadline to get all the paperwork for the challenge submitted, and 2) funding for the case to move forward. I only had a few weeks. We asked for a hearing before the judge to see if the deadline could be extended. That hearing was held April 20. The judge granted us the extension, but only for 8 additional days, until April 28th. It was not enough time. After all the effort, my case could not move forward. Even if the House Bill passes, it will not affect our marriage as our case was already filed.

I find myself back where I started: facing unilateral no-fault divorce, with nothing but prayer to help me. I cried. A lot.

But all is not lost! House Bill 93 is alive and moving through the Texas House. You may follow it here. Please contact the House representatives, and let them know you support this bill!

Are you walking through no-fault divorce and would like to use your case to challenge the law? Or maybe you are able to contribute financially toward such an effort? It’s an investment that could affect millions of lives for the better, especially the lives of children! If so, please contact me at nofaultrepeal@gmail.com.

Lastly, please pray for our family. After standing for our marriage for so long, I am nearing my 20-year anniversary; I’ve spent the last three anniversaries without my husband. All four of my children have dealt with various issues because of this divorce. Our case is scheduled for mediation on May 18th, just two weeks away. And yes, I am still believing for a miracle. With God, all things are possible!

Standing with you for marriage,

Kristi Davis


 
 
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