What You Need To Know About The Duggar Family & Their Stance On Divorce

While a Duggar divorce is possible, it’s definitely not common or even encouraged.

by Gillian Walters
Originally Published: 

Throughout the past few years, there have been numerous Duggar weddings, and with many of the Duggar children still unmarried, you never know when another Duggar courtship or engagement will spring up. Amid all the nuptials and relationship news — to say nothing of the Amazon documentary Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secretshowever, some fans are wondering if any of the Duggars have called it quits on their marriage. As surprising as it may be given the family's conservative background, there are a few people in the extended Duggar family who have ended their marriages.

It's no secret that most of the Duggars are against divorce. In fact, Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, are in a covenant marriage. If you're not familiar with the term, it's a distinct type of marriage that makes it more difficult for two people to divorce. Covenant marriages are only recognized in three states (Arkansas, where most of the Duggars live, Louisiana, and Arizona), and there has to be a specific reason for a divorce to be granted. Falling out of love, for example, is not acceptable grounds for the dissolution of a covenant marriage.

As for the head honchos of the Duggar family, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, they also don't believe in divorce. (Shocking.) Michelle and Jim Bob have even traveled the country to give talks on making a marriage work. And while the past few years have taught us to never say never, we'll be shocked if Michelle and Jim Bob ever announce their separation. (The again, a few years ago the idea of any of the Duggar women in pants would have been shocking and here we are in Legging Country...)

Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting to make a marriage work or being married. But, as many people out there already know, things don't always work out. Just ask Jim Bob's sister, Deanna Duggar. Deanna and her husband, Terry Jordan, filed for divorce in December 2015, according to ET Online.

Amy King, Deanna's daughter and 19 Kids & Counting alum, opened up about her parents’ split shortly after the news broke. King revealed, according to Us Weekly, They have had an on/off relationship for a long time. It's sad they can't be a team. The divorce papers came, and my dad told me through a text on Christmas. I don't think he meant to, he just didn't know what to do. I was devastated. It hit me so hard.”

Interestingly enough, Deanna isn't the only person connected to the Duggars to have divorced their spouse. Anna Duggar's sister, Rebekah McDonald, divorced her husband, Joshua McDonald, in 2015, according to Radar Online. And although McDonald isn't technically a Duggar, it's worth noting given her relationship with Anna.

And let’s talk about Anna and Josh and divorce. From 2015 to 2021, Josh has been the subject of a number of allegations, including molesting five girls (four of whom were his sisters) when he was a tween; cheating on Anna via Ashley Madison, a website for married people seeking affairs; and allegedly assaulting a sex worker. He was found guilty of possessing child pornography of very young children, including infants.

Anna and Josh Duggar at CPAC.Kris Connor/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Many fans, reasonably, assumed Anna would divorce Josh. Any one of those revelations would be enough for some folks. To date, however, she has not, but in fact appeared (pregnant) at his sentencing and has been spotted visiting him in prison with their seven children. Shocking though it may be for most people to fathom such fidelity to a man who has done such reprehensible things, it’s understandable given the family’s connection to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a conservative Christian organization whose teachings strongly condemn divorce. In fact, a great chunk of IBLP's website is dedicated to making a marriage work at all costs. (Another big chunk is dedicated to the idea that women be subservient to their husbands... do you think maybe those two principles are connected in some way...?)

While a Duggar divorce is possible, it's not common and certainly not encouraged.

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