"Divorce parties"?
Originally uploaded by wwhyte1968

Phyllis has been ranting about divorces again. 🙂

In connexion with this blog posting, we were discussing alternatives over lunch the other day, and I suggested that perhaps marriage (and divorce) should simply not be recognised by the state.

What I mean is that people would of course be free to marry if they chose to, but it would not lead to any change in legal status, in the same way as the state doesn’t care whether you’ve got confirmed in church or not.

I see that Bagehot has now got the same idea.

However, I don’t think he goes far enough.

He seems to suggest that you should still register your union with the state, but many people will never get round to doing so.

Instead, I suggest that legislation should solely refer to parents of children, and to people cohabiting for a specific length of time.

For instance, the state could treat you as married if you had either had a child together or lived together for three years, and it could treat you as divorced if you had either “married” somebody else through the above-mentioned actions or lived apart for two years.

Much easier than the current mess!


  1. Obvious problems: Would soldiers placed abroad automatically get “divorced”? Would people in housing coops automatically start a group marriage?

    I wouldn’t care who it’s registered with, but with the kind of economic consequences a marriage has (sharing wealth, inheritance, tax breaks), it should be a deliberate decision, not something that just happens automatically.

    Unless you’re suggesting that those economic factors should disappear, in which case there’s really not much left of the marriage in a legal sense.

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