Until Death [or Dementia] Do Us Part? Robertson Says It Is OK To Divorce Spouses With Alzheimer’s

The marriage vows may say “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health,” but Rev. Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is just fine. Robertson says that the vows say “until death do us part” and Alzheimer’s should be viewed as a type of death.

Robertson was asked on this television program for advice for a friend whose wife has started suffering from Alzheimer’s and has started to see another woman. Robertson responded “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”

When he was reminded of that vows concerning “for better or for worse” and “until death do us part,” Robertson explained “If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part.’ This is a kind of death.”

I have always been fascinating by these programs with Muslim or Jewish or Christian figures dispensing advise to the faithful. No one ever asks, “are you just making this stuff up as you go along?” This seems a pretty massive change in the plain meaning of those vows. I hate to lawyer the language, but what is the basis for this new interpretation that the term “death” extends beyond the obvious meaning of the end of life and can include constructive death. It brings a new meaning to the phrase “you are dead to me.”

Source: Yahoo

181 thoughts on “Until Death [or Dementia] Do Us Part? Robertson Says It Is OK To Divorce Spouses With Alzheimer’s”

  1. Elaine M.,

    Not to split hairs…But some parents just do not care to be involved….Sometimes its mothers but most of the time it is fathers….It may be a regional thing… societal or pure bad upbringing….

    As Blouise pointed out above…The Policy is some areas is set in stone….The statue stated that the Judge must consider Joint Shared Custody if requested…I had a male judge say…on the record….Ok, I have considered it…denied..the time frame was less than 5 seconds…He was upheld on appeal….No JOINT SHARED CUSTODY….Mother Primary Custody…

  2. No wootsys….

    It is not….Most of the die hard judges that follow the previous courts rulings are male…I would say that less that 10% of all the Judges are female in the Midwest….

  3. AY,

    My mother worked too. She re-entered the workforce when I started second grade. She got home later than my father because she had a long bus ride to the company where she worked in another city.

    As for my husband–his mother also worked. His father was very involved in raising him and his younger brothers, in spending time with his children, and in cooking for the family.

  4. As to the sex of Judges … I have found that to be immaterial. Certain counties in my state are known to be pro-mother and the sex of the Judge makes no difference in the ruling. I don’t know who sets the “policy” but it is set in stone.

  5. Mike,

    “Quite true, but think about it for a second. Aren’t rulings like that based on the assumption that the woman’s role is always to be caregiver, which in itself is sexist.”

    True but that, in my opinion, is no excuse. I have seen far too many women use the Courts to beat up their ex-husbands by denying the actual shared custody they’ve been granted through a tactic called “custodial care” … in other words, the parent who resides in the school system area.

    Typical maneuver: “Yeah, you were supposed to have him all week but he needs to catch the school bus and he can’t do that from your house and I can’t be sure you’ll drive him to school on time. It’s not in his best interest to spend two weeks a month with you during the school year. Right Mr. Judge?” … “Yes, the mother is right. So ordered!”

    Father now goes from two 7-day weeks a month to two weekends a month … shared custody, my eyebrow. Then the school system will only notify the custodial parent of things like “student conferences” which means the father, who is just as interested and concerned about his child’s progress in school, has to find a way to get the info as to day and time the conference is scheduled without bugging the teacher too much for fear she/he might become irritated with him.

    In this culture men can’t stand in the courtroom and cry when they hear the Judge’s ruling but let’s not kid ourselves … their hearts are breaking.

    I’ve mentioned before that due to my age and diminished energy levels, I pick my battles/causes carefully. This is one battle I chose to fight.

  6. Anonymously Yours1, September 17, 2011 at 11:20 am


    That may be sexist in of its own…But you gotta remember that it is Judges making the decisions that were raised by women….
    your first immediate response in your thoughts is that all Judges are men????

  7. Anonymously Yours1, September 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm
    division of labour in a marriage cannot be looked at so easily. For 1 thing, women are not treated equally in the marketplace when it comes to wages and employment and they are not treated equally for thier labours at home. And yet there is not a single soul in this world who does not owe thier entire life to her.

    Now who would you favor in a divorce as the primary care giver?

    Now who would you favor in a divorce as the primary giver?


    Now who would you favor in a divorce as the primary provider?

    For what purpose then, was the marriage begun?….and did you meet your goals?….so who wants out before the contract ends???? and why????

  8. Elaine,

    Generally not….They were either working at GM, Ford Chrysler or some other over timed job….It was rare then…to have an active father in the children’s lives….

    I do understand what you are saying….But a lot of these folks worked extra overtime to pay for colleges…. It is interesting that you say that….

    I had two clients that worked at GM…one lived in a trailer park…in a place that cost him about 40K….another lived in a house in a nice part of town that had a value of about 225….or 250…. I represented both of them in divorces….they both made about 75 a year and the wives did not work (out side the house)….

    Now who would you favor in a divorce as the primary care giver?

  9. AY,

    “That may be sexist in of its own…But you gotta remember that it is Judges making the decisions that were raised by women….”

    You mean the judges weren’t also raised by their fathers who are men?

  10. Is it a mistake to confuse ‘relationship’ with ‘marriage’?

    Marriage is a legal ‘contract’. Relationship is a sacred garden sown between 2 or more individuals. When has the superimposed ‘court system’ ever gotten it right? Courts are where you go when things go wrong or society says you must, marriages are contracts that are upheld or reneged on…. Relationships, and I am referring to those chosen consciously, as opposed to societally imposed, are based on consent so it boils down to…. do you keep your promises and when is it ok to break a contract?

  11. Mike,

    That may be sexist in of its own…But you gotta remember that it is Judges making the decisions that were raised by women….

  12. “Courts are wrong to subject fathers and their children to such heartless custody rulings. Wrong, wrong, wrong.”


    Quite true, but think about it for a second. Aren’t rulings like that based on the assumption that the woman’s role is always to be caregiver, which in itself is sexist.

  13. “Personally, I think it’s really creepy that society thinks this sort of ratio is okay. I suspect it says a lot about the pathology of women.”

    Or it says a lot about how immature, inattentive and/or abusive many men can be. Most men I know consider Sunday “Football Sacrosanct” even if their wife and family would rather not share it. Also going out “with the guys” is another great justification for men to flee wife, family, hearth and home. After awhile of this self-involved distraction from actually maintaining a married or family life I imagine many women wonder if their role in their husband’s life is to provide cooking, cleaning and sex.

  14. Blouise,

    You are correct that children need both parents….At the turn of the century…when parties got divorced….the children stayed with the father to work the family farm….then…advance 20 years…white women got the right to vote…advance 20 more….WWII broke out…men were at war…women stayed home or worked in war production factories and…worked the farms….when most of the males were at war unless an exception….advance 20 more years…family farms decreased greater than 50%…men were working….the women were staying home….it was logical…that the children stayed with the primary care giver….advance 20 more years…we are in the 80’s women are working just the same as men…some courts are dividing children like property…These Judges were the ones were taken care of by their moms….so it only seemed natural…..advance 20 more years…the men are starting to get shared custody…it has taken a hundred or so years….but it evolves….

    Or least that is my take on it…

  15. “You break your arm patting yourself on the back about what a great guy you are, what a mensch, all your charity and good deeds and activism in RL.

    But you bend over backwards defending an attack on Marcus Bachman that other actual liberals already deride:

    Now you could take the high road and not defend it, but you don’t you jump in with your massive mensch like arms and actually defend liberals making homophobic attacks on others. And worse, you state the canonical liberal defense for it. “We are ironic. We can’t be homophobes or bigots. It’s the conservatives that are homophobes and bigots.”


    1. A little Yiddish context. Mensch is a term used by others, never by oneself and that is by definition. The term is a judgment of someone by other parties, never self-appellated. I’ve never called myself a mensch.

    2. I’ve done very good deeds and have been an activist that is true. I’ve never been into charity since I’ve never had the extra money and also having worked closely with the non-profit field I’m suspicious of most of them. To further your imprecations one would think incorrectly that I see myself as an altruist and that too would be incorrect. I don’t believe in altruism. All the good works that I may have done were because doing them made me feel good. I am far from, nor would I want to be a “selfless” person.

    3. Mespo did not make a homophobic attack, so I wasn’t defending one.

    4. As for the “canonical liberal defense” that is again your ascribing to me that which I am not. I’m neither progressive, nor liberal, but merely an iconoclast.

    Perhaps if you did some introspection you might take some self awareness from the following:

  16. “Published today at Salon”


    Sorry to say but that entire comment of yours and the link was a non sequitor, adding nothing to the thread. What does that prove about progressives in general? How does it bolster the position you’ve staked out. I read it and I don’t get its relevance?

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