Until Death or Two Years Do Us Part

Gianna Scatchell Columns, Lawyer

Some couples forego the idea of marriage because of the drudgery allegedly associated with it. White picket fence, bills, muffin tops, and mini-vans are not for everyone. But imagine if you could just let the marriage lapse and fade away if you or your spouse decide the marriage isn’t worth it anymore.

Lawmakers in Mexico City think that allowing two-year temporary marriage licenses could ameliorate soaring divorce rates. Under a proposed “marital opt-out agreement,” couples will determine the time limit of their union, with two years being the minimum term and “’til death do us part” presumably being a bit longer term. The agreement will function much like a partnership agreement. Property and children (if any at the time of the marriage) are divvied up prior to marriage, much like a prenup, actually. If the couple decides to split, the marriage contract expires. This expiration is in lieu of the normal drudgery, cost, and emotional toll of a divorce. But, if the marital bliss does not disappear, the couple can renew the contract.

Despite any potential upside to this proposed law, the downside is giving couples a way out whenever they encounter a bump in the road. The notion of ’til death do us part will be replaced with “subject to any contract modification, extension, and renewal.” Or, as one opponent says, it’s just one more thing in an otherwise “throwaway culture.”

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cybergypsy/463068055)

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