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May 05 2017

The Right to Leave a Group

It seems an intuitive truth that we have the right to leave a group that we have voluntarily joined. Even though that right exists, it is not absolute and it’s also true that the right to leave may be diluted by contractual obligations we have entered into.

Time frames are a key factor. In the combining of a marriage or a nation of states, the expectation is for permanency and that makes dissolution of the bonds more difficult. When leaving a group disrupts the ability of the group to function as it was designed, the obligation to stay may become heightened.

On the other side, any obligation to stay within a group may be offset by damage or injury sustained by remaining. Obligations to stay within a group may also be offset by the failure of the group to live up to promises made in order to secure the joining.

It’s worth noting that this debate can be framed for an individual who wants to leave a group or a group that desires to leave another group.

The essential factors that need to be considered include:

  • pros and cons of leaving the group
  • pros and cons of staying in the group
  • pros and cons of any obligations entered into

These factors should also be carefully considered before joining a group, in particular before making obligations to the group that may become binding later.