Finding that religion is a contributing factor to the breakdown of a marriage is not a new concept. Disagreements rooted in religion are present even within Hollywood, as highlighted in the battle that continues between superstars Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The actress stated during the split that her husband's religion played a role in the dissolution of their marriage.

Although such allegations may seem, at first glance, to be a thing of the past, legal specialists across the country are acknowledging that religion continues to play a contributing factor to present day divorces.

Religion and divorce: The couple.

The Huffington Post recently ran an article addressing this issue. The article touched on how many religions view divorce negatively. Religions like Christianity consider marriage a covenant not just between two people but also between the couple and God. As a result, the breakdown of a marriage could, in theory, negatively impact one's relationship with God.

Regardless of an individual's religious belief, the legal specialist came to one conclusion - a marriage cannot survive if both individuals are not invested. When the marriage is not salvageable, a faithful individual could seek the comfort available in counseling sessions with his or her rabbi, priest, minister or other spiritual leader.

Religion and divorce: The children.

In some cases, religion may be a contributing factor to the split because one spouse is concerned about the religious upbringing of the children. This can take two different forms: either the spouse is concerned that there is no spiritual upbringing or the spouse disagrees with the type of spiritual upbringing the children are being exposed to. There is conjecture that this was the root of the split between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Courts asked to address the question of which religion a child should practice after divorce during custody hearings are faced with a complicated balance. The court must consider both the best interest of the child and the parent's right to raise the child as he or she views best. Because of its complexity, there is not one right answer. Instead, the court views the circumstances of each case to develop an answer that is best for each situation.

One way to take the decision out of the court's hands is to develop a parenting plan. This legal document addresses how the children will be raised and can include instruction on religious upbringing.

In the end, what is best for everyone involved?

Regardless of religious beliefs, determining when a divorce is the best option depends on each individual relationship. Each couple has a unique situation. There is no formula that provides the right answer to this difficult question. However, some questions that can provide guidance include:

  • Is the relationship abusive? If this is the case, separation is likely the best option.
  • Was there infidelity? If a spouse was unfaithful the trust that the relationship is built on is broken. Counseling can help, but both need to be invested in repairing the relationship.
  • Can you communicate with each other? If you no longer feel that you can share feelings and thoughts with your spouse the bond that defines a marriage may be broken.

Whether the reason for a divorce is clear, infidelity, or more complex, a lack of communication and disintegration of the marital bond, it is wise to contact an experienced divorce lawyer if you are considering a separation. A divorce lawyer can help better ensure you consider all the options available and help you chose the option that is best for your situation.