Your Partner in Christ — Your Values Shared
Christian attorneys in Somerset, Pennsylvania who understand and share your beliefs and values
Many of our clients wonder how we at Harold Shepley & Associates, LLC can reconcile our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with the realities of divorce and family law. As attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we are bound by the same ethical and moral rules as any lawyer as set forth by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. However, as Christians and servants of Christ, we know we are judged at a much higher standard for fairness, morality and justice, both now and in the afterlife. At our firm, we will never judge you, lest we be judged ourselves.
In our family law practice, we are often called to help people during some of the most difficult times of their lives. By seeking the guidance of the Lord in counseling our clients, we can shed a light upon the darkness and be a shepherd to those who may have lost their way.
How do we reconcile God’s abhorrence of divorce with our practice of Christian law?
As lawyers, the team at Harold Shepley & Associates knows that our Savior detests divorce. He says so clearly in the Old Testament book of Malachi 3:15-16 — “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Despite this, divorce is a reality in our world, for both Christians and non-Christians, often forced upon another who does not want a divorce. And as Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, there is no need to show grounds, such as adultery or drunkenness, to obtain a divorce; all one spouse needs to do is claim “irreconcilable differences.”
Jesus goes further to explain when divorce is acceptable and –unacceptable — and the only exception He recognized was “marital unfaithfulness” (Matthew 5:31-32). Scholars, teachers and even Christian lawyers differ on what “marital unfaithfulness” is — adultery? Possession of pornography? Incest? Or could it be any fundamental part of the marriage covenant?
Even more so, what about abandonment, which Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 7:12-15? A Christian married to a non-Christian cannot abandon or divorce the non-Christian simply because of that spouse’s lack of faith. But if the non-Christian spouse leaves, the Christian spouse is free to divorce and remarry. This raises the same question — what counts as abandonment? Domestic violence? Child abuse? Alcohol abuse?
Recognizing the likelihood and reality of divorce in Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Regardless of the permissibility of divorce, it is never commanded by God and Jesus Christ, only given as a tolerable option. Harold Shepley & Associates’ attorneys, as Christians, always seek to show mercy, gracefulness, gentleness, humility and kindness, making allowances for the faults of others and forgiving those who offend us, just as the Lord does. We don’t profess to have all the answers to other believers facing this difficult situation and life change.
Our ultimate goal is to support you, as our client, and represent you in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the teachings of Jesus Christ. And while we might be Christian lawyers, we do not simply lie down and turn the other cheek in litigation — as Jesus himself became fed up with the money-changers in the Temple in Matthew 21:13, we will “turn over the tables” to ensure that we protect you.
We don’t sell divorce here. We work with ministers and churches throughout the region to counsel clients when divorce is clearly not the best option, and we always seek alternatives in line with our belief that marriage is sacred. Divorce is a necessity in this sinful world, and we cannot believe that God would prefer us to suffer a marriage marked by abuse, unfaithfulness, drug or alcohol abuse, or abandonment. We also believe that it’s important to protect our children — a job commanded by God — and this often means that the best, if not the only way is to turn to the Pennsylvania courts. Recall Romans 13:1-3 in which Jesus tells us to work with, not resist, governing authorities to accomplish the tasks given to us by God.
The lawyers at Harold Shepley & Associates, LLC are here to help you in these situations. As Christian attorneys, we know the road ahead may not be easy — but you can be sure that you will have a partner to walk with you every step of the way. Contact us online today!