Asociación Gallega de Padres y Madres Separados

Ayuda práctica, jurídica y psicológica padres, madres, separados, divorciados e hijos

Résumé of marriage laws

Here is a good résumé of marriage laws stretching back to Roman times within the area now known as France.

It comes from the Exprimez-vous page of http://mediation.familiale.ifrance.com
(direct url: http://mediation.familiale.ifrance.com/exprimez.htm ), which is being added to each week with some very good writing, including proposals for family law reform (see for this Les Assises de Plaintel on the site: http://www.mediation-familiale.com/ ).

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The below shows how much legal interpretation of marriage has varied over the centuries, see-sawing from one thing to the other in terms of its indissolubility, rather than representing a progressive continuum. It also shows how the identification of divorce as a sort of "poison" has shaped the belief of policy makers in their right to pass laws allowing officials to interfere in such matters, contrasted with the statement in the revolutionary period (1792) that:

"The ability to divorce stems from individual liberty, which would be lost if the marriage contract were irrevocable."

This drives home the point that whereas there is just cause to expect parents to have "indissoluble contracts" of responsibility towards their minor children, to make these conditional upon contracts between their parents is an attack on fundamental freedoms, and thus co-parenting should inevitably flow from responsibility to one's children, rather than the converse, in a free society. The pragmatic obstacles to this (uncertainty of parenthood, lack of material wherewithal to practise parenthood) have now largely vanished in many countries with advances in DNA testing and social security, so the question now is:

"When will we pass laws which give us family rights as equal citizens in a free society?"

Julian Fitzgerald
Leeds, UK