With soaring divorce rates globally, churches have been asked to reconsider its rigid stance on annulments.
“I think we have gotten it a bit wrongly” Presiding Bishop and General Overseer of Transformation Assembly Church in Accra said on Joy News’ AM Show Monday morning.
He argued the stigma religious societies attach to divorce is adding to pressures in some marriages where the couple have come to irreconcilable differences.
The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971 (Act 367) governs the current law on divorce in Ghana. The law provides that, a petition for divorce may be presented to the court by either party to a marriage.
However, the petitioner of the divorce must be able to provide evidence to the effect that the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation.
This in fact is the sole ground for divorce. That notwithstanding this sole ground must be evidenced by proof of one of the following:
Adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, separation with consent for a period of 2 years or 5 years of Separation.
Fr. Paul Agbodza has noted that modernisation is affecting marriages in Ghana and leading to an acceptance of divorce.
“The beautiful wedding gowns, page boys or flower girls, the golden rings, the well-decorated cars and the sirens, maids of honour and all the gorgeous celebrations and beautiful children born easily fade into oblivion and replaced with hatred between husband and wife, between families and legal tussles take over.
Dr. Fred Korankye, laying down a rule for divorce as a “better option”, said annulment should be encouraged when the life of a spouse is under threat.
While advocating for the loosening of “rigid” stance against divorce, he indicated, he is not advocating for the opening of floodgates for divorce.
“Of course, there are disadvantages of divorce”, he said explaining “it is good for children to grow up with their father and mother in the same environment”
He stuck to the Christian definition of marriage as God-ordained institution to companionship and reproduction and pulled out perhaps the most popular scripture on marriage, Matthew 19:6
“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”.
But he pointed out, this scripture is often misinterpreted. He explained the verse refers to external pressures or forces to break up a union of a man and woman.
“In most cases in some marriages, the two of them have already put it asunder by their actions and inactions….they are very incompatible, you see that their differences cannot be worked out”
“In those instances, I recommend that we allow them to divorce so that they can lead their separate lives and be happier”, he spoke to JoyNews’ Kojo Yankson.