Sign in to follow this  
pope_cahbet

Can The Minister Be Sued If The Marriage Turns Bad

Recommended Posts

My wife is not happy with my decision to become a ULC Minister, or, quite frankly, any kind of Minister.

She also wants me to focus my attentions on things that will bring in money and sees this as a distraction from that purpose. Now she has mentioned a fear of something I had never heard of -- the minister being sued if the marriage turns out badly.

I suggested that if Ministers were liable for how the marriages turned out and could be sued when they went bad, we would not have any Ministers left with the divorce rates and rates of spousal abuse being what they are. She said with my luck, I could be the test case that let it happen. (Gee, thanks for the support, dear!)

So, while I know there are no lawyers on here, have any of you heard of a Minister being sued for a bad marriage? Or anything else besides criminal activity (fraud, theft, child abuse)?

I am going to ask my attorney about this as soon as I can, but I thought someone on this forum might have heard of it, if it has happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife is not happy with my decision to become a ULC Minister, or, quite frankly, any kind of Minister.

She also wants me to focus my attentions on things that will bring in money and sees this as a distraction from that purpose. Now she has mentioned a fear of something I had never heard of -- the minister being sued if the marriage turns out badly.

I suggested that if Ministers were liable for how the marriages turned out and could be sued when they went bad, we would not have any Ministers left with the divorce rates and rates of spousal abuse being what they are. She said with my luck, I could be the test case that let it happen. (Gee, thanks for the support, dear!)

So, while I know there are no lawyers on here, have any of you heard of a Minister being sued for a bad marriage? Or anything else besides criminal activity (fraud, theft, child abuse)?

I am going to ask my attorney about this as soon as I can, but I thought someone on this forum might have heard of it, if it has happened.

In the "world according to Mike" I'd say no, you have no legal liability.

In the world of liberal and litigeous Mule Fritters in which everyone blames everyone else for their own actions and behaviors, I would say legal liability is only a matter of time.

I recently saw online where a Japanese robot manufactorer created a robot minister to officiate nuptuals. This will likely be the secularist answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the "world according to Mike" I'd say no, you have no legal liability.

In the world of liberal and litigeous Mule Fritters in which everyone blames everyone else for their own actions and behaviors, I would say legal liability is only a matter of time.

Hear...hear!

On that same note, a pal of mine posted a blog about a group of lowlife, pass-the-buck-losers who are lobbying to get Ronald McDonald removed from McDonalds restaurants because he "makes" kids want to come eat there and therefore they get fat from it.

It's official...the death of personal responsibility is not only at hand...the hole has been dug to throw it in!

Edited by GothicScrybe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I have heard of U.L.C.ministers taken to court when a marriage ends in divorce. The couple wanting a fast divorce will claim the U.L.C.credentials are not valid therefore their marriage was not valid.You could end up in court proving your credentials are valid.You could be on thin ice in some places using U.L.C. credentials.Always check with your state represenative and the court house where you are preforming the marriage before officiating at one.If memory serves me there have been cases of this on this web site.Then again I am old and my memory is not what it used to be.

Good Luck

jba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is generally speaking, provided that your legality to solemnize marriages is not coming in to questions, the only way for a couple to sue you for a failed marriage is if you ever promised, implied or otherwise indicated that due to your involvement (like pre-martial counseling for instance) would ensure a divorce free marriage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I have heard of U.L.C.ministers taken to court when a marriage ends in divorce. The couple wanting a fast divorce will claim the U.L.C.credentials are not valid therefore their marriage was not valid.You could end up in court proving your credentials are valid.You could be on thin ice in some places using U.L.C. credentials.Always check with your state represenative and the court house where you are preforming the marriage before officiating at one.If memory serves me there have been cases of this on this web site.Then again I am old and my memory is not what it used to be.

Good Luck

jba

Do you (or anyone else on here) recall WHERE the Minister or Ministers were? I am in TN and laws vary so much from state to state. I did look into the laws here in TN and I intend to discuss this with my attorney before I actually officiate at any ceremonies, so I am not RELYING on this Forum for legal advice -- but it would be nice to know if these sorta-remembered instances were in a state other than mine. thumbsup%281%29.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is generally speaking, provided that your legality to solemnize marriages is not coming in to questions, the only way for a couple to sue you for a failed marriage is if you ever promised, implied or otherwise indicated that due to your involvement (like pre-martial counseling for instance) would ensure a divorce free marriage.

Okay, I will have to add a disclaimer that they sign to whatever package I work up to give them.

I received the Marriages, Funerals & Rites of Passage book yesterday. Bought it off ebay for $15 including s/h. It was written by the lady who runs the ULC Seminary (ulcseminary.org) and it has a nice section of FAQs at the front, as well as some good ceremonies. She also has a sequel with More Marriages, Funerals & ... you know (:rolleyes:) for $9.95 in doc or text format & they have some cool stuff you can order on that website. I am going to ask her what she thinks about this notion of suing the minister. I mention her book here because it contains some info about counseling and offers some forms for the couple to use in thinking about the marriage before the wedding takes place. (She has another book for the couple that goes more into detail about all the planning they could be doing before their wedding.)

Earlier this week, I wasted spent some time at Cokesbury and at LifeWay Christian stores looking for CLERGY signs or bumper stickers or window decals. LifeWay had some books on being a Minister and some on weddings and such, including the Star Manual that is offered on the website store here. Those books give a good bit of coverage to counseling the couple before the wedding. Of course, they are more right-wing or hardcore Christian than I have been since about, oh, age 13 -- but what they are saying about pre-wedding counseling strikes a chord with me, even tho I would do it with a much different emphasis than they would.

All of which leads me to think I will need more planning and prep before I even consider doing a wedding. Of course, I sorta knew that -- but it helps to have specific reasons to motivate me to take the time to do it.

THANK YOU, everyone who replied to this topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there are several states that have disolved marriages based on the person solemnizing the marriage (a ULC minister) not having the legal authority to do so. PA, NC, and VA off the top of my head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

If memory serves me.There was a court challenge that was quite nasty in North Carolina.Credentials have been challenged in Bucks county Pa. By the way I am from Pa. but not Bucks county.Challenges have also been made in New York city.

You will probably have to find out about Tenn. from your state representative.

You might try a google search using "universal life church in Tenn"

Good Luck

jba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I received the Marriages, Funerals & Rites of Passage book yesterday. Bought it off ebay for $15 including s/h. It was written by the lady who runs the ULC Seminary (ulcseminary.org) and it has a nice section of FAQs at the front, as well as some good ceremonies. She also has a sequel with More Marriages, Funerals & ... you know () for $9.95 in doc or text format & they have some cool stuff you can order on that website. I am going to ask her what she thinks about this notion of suing the minister. I mention her book here because it contains some info about counseling and offers some forms for the couple to use in thinking about the marriage before the wedding takes place. (She has another book for the couple that goes more into detail about all the planning they could be doing before their wedding.)

I am the VP over at the Seminary. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info. I will check with my attorney before proceeding.

I wonder if it matters that the ULC incorporation is showing as Suspended on the CA Secretary of State's website? I would think the Mother Church for the ULC would want to be incorporated, although I guess a church would not need to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its not, its active, look up entity # C0432091

Tried that. The website says "Please enter a valid entity number." Yes, I entered it without the #, just the C0432091. Not there. When I tried under the name, it shows suspended.

Check for yourself: CA Secty of State

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Check for yourself: CA Secty of State

Cutting and pasting from the link...

Entity Number Date Filed Status Entity Name Agent for Service of Process

C0432091 05/02/1962 ACTIVE UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH, INC. ANDRE HENSLEY

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cutting and pasting from the link...

Entity Number Date Filed Status Entity Name Agent for Service of Process

C0432091 05/02/1962 ACTIVE UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH, INC. ANDRE HENSLEY

How odd! It was not showing at all when I checked a few minutes ago. Now it is. Cool ! thumbsup%281%29.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if a minister could be sued for a marriage going bad,i would have sued the one who presided the ceremony to my ex.however,that was not his fault,and like yours she did not want me becoming a minister.so be ready for even worse about it from your spouse.i just hope the results not the same.

seems people read more into the law than what's there.any marriages that have been dissolved that were preformed by ulc ministers were because for one reason or another,they were not authorized to solemnize such marriages.your state reps and such really don't have the time to look that stuff up,even if they have access to the information(as we all do).your best bet is to learn your states laws(tennessee is not that complicated,believe it or not)and save yourself some time and grief.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone can be sued for anything. Whether or not the complainant will be able to prove a case is another story altogether.

My opinion is simple. Do not become a minister for the sole purpose of starting a wedding ministry. Do not even have an intent on making a living as a minister. Have a congregation and perform wedding ceremonies for your parishioners. The occasional non-parishioner that requests you to marry them will not be much of a liability, and your parishioners will certainly not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if a minister could be sued for a marriage going bad,i would have sued the one who presided the ceremony to my ex.however,that was not his fault,and like yours she did not want me becoming a minister.so be ready for even worse about it from your spouse.i just hope the results not the same.

seems people read more into the law than what's there.any marriages that have been dissolved that were preformed by ulc ministers were because for one reason or another,they were not authorized to solemnize such marriages.your state reps and such really don't have the time to look that stuff up,even if they have access to the information(as we all do).your best bet is to learn your states laws(tennessee is not that complicated,believe it or not)and save yourself some time and grief.

Hi

I don't know about Tenn.but in Pa. the state representatives have legal aids who are more than willing to look up information for you. Representatives consider this part of their job and they want to be reelected.I received not the law but the interpretation of it from my state representative. Another reason I am glad to live in Pa.

Good Luck

jba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I don't know about Tenn.but in Pa. the state representatives have legal aids who are more than willing to look up information for you. Representatives consider this part of their job and they want to be reelected.I received not the law but the interpretation of it from my state representative. Another reason I am glad to live in Pa.

Good Luck

jba

See, this is what I need -- the interpretation of the law. I already have access to the wording of the law, but law is tricky. You may think you know what a word or a phrase means, while those who wrote it had a somewhat different meaning in mind. This is why lawyers issue Legal Opinions and doing so without a law degree can get you arrested for the unauthorized practice of law -- because it is their job to know the legal meanings, not the obvious meanings. I already planned to contact my state senator about suggested changes in the laws for Notaries (I am one), so this just gives me another reason to contact her. Thanks !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone can be sued for anything. Whether or not the complainant will be able to prove a case is another story altogether.

My opinion is simple. Do not become a minister for the sole purpose of starting a wedding ministry. Do not even have an intent on making a living as a minister. Have a congregation and perform wedding ceremonies for your parishioners. The occasional non-parishioner that requests you to marry them will not be much of a liability, and your parishioners will certainly not.

I have no intention of becoming a starting a wedding-only ministry. I have no intention of making a living from the ministry, either. I would like to supplement the income I have now, sometimes, with donations received from those who ask me to do services for them. I am currently a Notary Public and, in Tennessee, the fees we can charge are very small. So, I am very familiar with not making a living from doing services (:blink:). I make most of my income from what the law calls "additional services." My vision is more along the lines of a chaplaincy than a congregation.

You are, of course, correct that anyone can be sued for anything. The question is more one of how likely is it and has it happened before and with what result.

Thanks for taking part in the discussion. (thumbsup%281%29.gif)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this