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Thread: Definition of Marriage

  1. #31
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    Does it? If my wife and I decide that our marriage agreement is anulled, and we both walk away without signing a single document, am I still married?
    Yes, even if the marriage is void or voidable, because once entered into only the state can declare the marriage void or voidable even if it was void ab initio.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Yes you are still married -- but not because you did not sign a document to that effect. A marriage is voidable due to some pre-existing defect that incapacitates one or both parties to fulfill his or her marital duties.
    Marriages can be void or voidable. A void marriage would be one prohibited by law to begin with, and is void from its inception. A voidable marriage due to some kind of incapacity would be void from the time of judgment. The details, of course, vary from one jurisdiction to another, as to what constitutes a void marriage or a voidable marriage.

  2. #32
    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Yes you are still married -- but not because you did not sign a document to that effect. A marriage is voidable due to some pre-existing defect that incapacitates one or both parties to fulfill his or her marital duties.
    So... if it's not defined by paperwork, how can a couple "dissolve" a marriage in a manner that does not involve legal documents?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Well, it depends. Within the bounds of the law, it can be whatever they want. They can, for that matter, call themselves "spouses" even if they are not as a matter of law, e.g., in a polyamorous relationship.
    Which brings you back to the original question -- how is it different from a contract (which you already admitted, is insufficient to define marriage)?

    What the 'bounds of the law' define are spousal rights -- not what a marriage is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Or husband-husband, or wife-wife. Certainly, the agreement is required, or there could be no marriage.
    If same-sex marriage is contemplated here, why is a mere contract insufficient to define it?

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Even common-law marriages must meet certain legal requirements in order to be considered such.

    They are also not permitted by every state, though a common-law marriage entered into in a state that does permit them will (must) be recognized by a state that does not otherwise permit them. For example, a couple who was common-law married in Colorado, who now live in Arizona, are recognized as married by Arizona, and would get divorced there according to Arizona law.
    Which are enumerated by the definition I provided.

    The law merely recognizes a marriage for what it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Naturally, documentation proving the relationship may be problematic, for purposes of divorce, inheritance, &c.
    Which are the rights that accrue from a marriage. Documentation does not give rise to a marriage.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Marriages can be void or voidable. A void marriage would be one prohibited by law to begin with, and is void from its inception. A voidable marriage due to some kind of incapacity would be void from the time of judgment. The details, of course, vary from one jurisdiction to another, as to what constitutes a void marriage or a voidable marriage.
    Which is what I said -- as far as voidable marriages are concerned.

    Aside from the recognition of spousal rights, how exactly can the law prohibit marriage?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    So... if it's not defined by paperwork, how can a couple "dissolve" a marriage in a manner that does not involve legal documents?
    Again, what you are referring to are spousal rights arising from the law's recognition of a marriage. It does not say what a marriage is.

    If a couple marries in a jurisdiction, separates without a legal dissolution of the marriage, and one of the spouses re-marry in another jurisdiction, what happens to the marriage in the original jurisdiction?

    Despite the laws of the dissolution of the marriage within the original jurisdiction, it cannot uphold the marriage contrary to facts -- that the marriage is dissolved and one of the spouses is already married somewhere else.

  7. #37
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Which brings you back to the original question -- how is it different from a contract (which you already admitted, is insufficient to define marriage)?
    With a contract, rights and responsibilities are determined solely by the parties, within the bounds of what the law permits or requires. With a marriage, rights and responsibilities are determined by law. The parties can get married, or not, but cannot escape certain responsibilities. Some statutes may define marriage as a "civil contract," but it differs from a standard contract in various ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    What the 'bounds of the law' define are spousal rights -- not what a marriage is.
    The law also defines responsibilities, not just rights. As to "what a marriage is," I do not know what you are getting at.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    If same-sex marriage is contemplated here, why is a mere contract insufficient to define it?
    If opposite-sex marriage is contemplated, why is a mere contract insufficient to define it?

    The point, of course, is that the law no longer distinguishes between "opposite-sex" marriage and "same-sex marriage." They are legally identical, and so the distinction need not be drawn.

  8. #38
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Which are enumerated by the definition I provided.
    The details will vary from state to state, of course, and may be changed by any state at any time. But there is no legal distinction between a common-law marriage and a marriage solemnized by the state, considering substance over form.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    The law merely recognizes a marriage for what it is.
    It is not a "marriage" unless the law says so.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Which are the rights that accrue from a marriage.
    It matters for questions of legal responsibilities, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Documentation does not give rise to a marriage.
    Documentation may be needed to prove there is a marriage, in the event that it is disputed.

  9. #39
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    [H]ow exactly can the law prohibit marriage?
    How can it not?

  10. #40
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    If a couple marries in a jurisdiction, separates without a legal dissolution of the marriage, and one of the spouses re-marry in another jurisdiction, what happens to the marriage in the original jurisdiction?
    Nothing. The original parties are still married. The second "marriage" would be void.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    Despite the laws of the dissolution of the marriage within the original jurisdiction, it cannot uphold the marriage contrary to facts -- that the marriage is dissolved and one of the spouses is already married somewhere else.
    There is no "fact" that the marriage is dissolved. Without a legal dissolution, the marriage still exists. There is no "common-law divorce" in the United States.

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