Religion will often play a contentious role in divorces. For instance, Catholics do not believe in divorce and remarriage, and orthodox Jewish wives must receive a “get” (Jewish divorce certificate) from their husbands before they can remarry within the faith. The issuance of a get is often used as leverage by a husband in settlements.

A bill has been introduced into the Maryland legislature to require people filing for divorce to grant their ex-spouses permission to remarry. This bill would mandate that divorcing couples file an affidavit stating that they had removed all religious barriers to remarriage within their power. The intent behind the bill is to prevent spouses from using “gets” as leverage.

There are obvious first amendment issues with this law in the area of spearating church and state. For instance, it would create problems for Catholics. New York passed a similar law in the early 1980s which has not been tested in court yet. New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida have entertained similar bills in the past, but none have passed into law.