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Josh Duggar’s Trial: Do Josh and Anna Duggar Have a Covenant Marriage?

Josh Duggar is facing years behind bars. Still, his wife of more than a decade remains by his side, at least in a spiritual sense. Duggar family followers can't figure out why she isn't filing for divorce. Some fans think a covenant marriage holds her back, but she doesn't have one.

Josh Duggar is awaiting sentencing on two child pornography charges. While it is unclear just how long Josh will spend in jail, it seems likely that he will be in a federal correctional facility for the next several years. Despite that fact, his wife, Anna Duggar, appears to be standing by his side. Some Duggar family followers assume Anna hasn’t filed for divorce because of the type of marriage she and Josh have. Several Duggar family members have covenant marriages, but do Josh and Anna? The answer seems to be “no.” 

What is a covenant marriage? 

A covenant marriage is a marriage license that adds additional stipulations on a marrying couple before they wed. Covenant marriage also limits the reasons why a couple can choose to divorce. Before getting married, the couple must attend counseling sessions and sign paperwork that outlines their lifelong commitment to each other. Currently, only three states recognize covenant marriages. Arkansas, the state that the Duggar family calls home, is one of them. 

According to Legal Zoom, people who enter into a covenant marriage still have the option of divorce. There are just added steps to the process. A covenant marriage can be dissolved if the spouses enter counseling and remain separated for two years. A spouse can also file to dissolve a covenant marriage if they can prove there was adultery in the union, if physical or sexual abuse were present, or if a partner is convicted of a felony. A spouse can also file for divorce if their partner abandons the marital home and refuses to return. 

Anna, technically, could use several of the approved reasons to dissolve her covenant marriage if she had one. Josh admitted to cheating on Anna in a public statement back in 2015. The 33-year-old former reality TV star has also been convicted on two felony charges. 

Do Josh and Anna Duggar have a covenant marriage? 

Josh and Anna Duggar married in 2008 after a brief engagement. While the couple has openly discussed their “courtship,” Duggar family followers largely agree that they didn’t actually court before their engagement. Either way, the duo was engaged in June 2008 and tied the knot in September 2008. 

Josh Duggar and Anna Duggar standing together and smiling
Josh Duggar and Anna Duggar | Kris Connor/Getty Images

The couple opted to wed in Anna’s home state of Florida. Their marriage license was generated there, too. Florida does not recognize covenant marriages. Instead, the couple has a standard marriage license. Even if Josh and Anna had opted to marry in a state that recognizes covenant marriages, Anna would have grounds to file for a divorce. Regardless, Anna does not seem to be pursuing a divorce at this time.  

Which Duggar family members have covenant marriages? 

While Duggar family followers have watched several of the family’s offspring walk down the aisle, it’s hard to say just how many have opted for a covenant marriage. According to Duggar Data, Jill Dillard and her husband, Derick Dillard, discussed their decision to pursue a covenant marriage. Most of the other Duggar kids have remained quiet about it. 

Family followers believe Joseph Duggar and Kendra Caldwell have a covenant marriage. They also believe Jedidiah Duggar and his wife, Katey Nakatsu, likely pursued a covenant marriage, as well. Both couples held their weddings in Arkansas. 


‘Counting On’: A Complete Timeline of Josh and Anna Duggar’s Marriage

Josiah and Lauren Duggar, Austin and Joy-Anna Forsyth, Jeremy and Jinger Vuolo, and Ben and Jessa Seewald all got married in Arkansas, too. Arkansas recognizes covenant marriages. Still, none have stated whether or not they pursued the special license. John David Duggar married Abbey Burnett in Oklahoma, while Justin Duggar tied the knot with Claire Spivey in Texas. Neither state recognizes covenant marriages. It’s safe to say both have traditional marriages.