Monday

marriageSign the Covenant . . . Or Not . . . Your Call

Kansas is considering a covenant marriage bill. I don’t know much about the Kansas bill, but a covenant marriage is a marriage that can be dissolved only for good cause. It’s more or less a return to the days before California instituted the first “no-fault” divorce law.

But only if a couple chooses a covenant marriage. If the couple wants an ordinary (no-fault divorce) marriage license, it’s available, too. The couple has a choice.

It seems fair, and it’s a nice compromise between the sexual libertines (my term for them) and religious zealots (their term for me). But boy, does it make the permissive set mad. Check out the comments in the link above. They’re filled with rancor at religion and morality. I’m willing to be these people are “pro-choice” when it comes to the death of a fetus and homosexuals getting married, but when it comes to heterosexual adults consenting to a marital contract? Hoodoggy! No way.

It’s bizarre.

I would, however, make a couple of tweaks to the covenant marriage bills. First, get rid of the required marital counseling. That’s just obnoxious. Second, I would (like Kansas) require the couple to sign an affidavit that they know what they’re doing, but I’d add a clause that they’re signing it of their own free will and not under duress (including duress resulting from an out-of-wedlock pregnancy). Third, I wouldn’t charge additional fees for a covenant marriage license, but I would greatly increase the court filing fees for dissolving a covenant marriage. The court expenses of handling a “for-cause” divorce versus a “no-fault” divorce are significant, especially if the law divvies up marital property based on contributory fault. I would probably triple the filing fee and, if marital property is divided based on respective fault, an inventory fee based on the amount of the marital assets (say, 2% of the marital assets).

I guess it really doesn’t matter, though. The covenant marriage reform movement has been going on for at least a decade now, and only four states have adopted it. Not exactly a strong showing.

(I’m not sure why the couple’s head got cut off in the picture, but I kinda liked it that way, so I kept it.)

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