Monday, September 28, 2009

Conservatives propose to reduce marriage covenant to a contract

The BBC reports that it is emerging Conservative Party policy to make pre-nuptial agreements binding, as they are in many EU countries. Henry Bellingham, the shadow justice minister, said: "We want to bring in a fairly wide-ranging divorce law reform bill and I'm very keen that part of it will include pre-nups and make them enforceable in law, subject to very strict safeguards."

Some 'family' (divorce) lawyers disagree: Marilyn Stowe said: "The whole emphasis is on divorce reform - and I actually think we should be looking much more at marriage. I have to say if I was asked to enter into a 'pre-nup' I wouldn't."

Marilyn Stowe argues: "I am married and I advocate marriage for those who wish to commit in that way. But I am also prepared to recognise that everyone has the right not to do so. I believe that the law should be available to all families, not just the select few – and certainly not the innocents who currently ‘make do’ with the odd CSA cheque and a hotch-potch of inadequate legislation."

Cranmer is grateful to his faithful communicant Mr Nick Gulliford for bringing this to His Grace's attention and for pointing out the manifest deficiencies of this argument:

1. Virtually all the parties to this 'debate' seem to be making a fundamental mistake of treating marriage as a 'contract' rather than a 'covenant'. Because it is a covenant it does not lend itself to the kind of legal impositions that politicians and lawyers are seeking to place upon it.

2. One consequence of this is that a divorce should only be granted when there is mutual consent by the parties which is the same as that with which they entered the marriage. Only if the marriage was forced should the courts should have unilateral power to negate it.

3. If the ‘hotch-potch of inadequate legislation’ that covers cases involving children of parents who are not married is not working, then politicians must devise better legislation. But if couples are determined not to marry, to try to impose upon them the marital commitments they have sought to avoid is silly. At present the tax and benefit systems impose penalties on poor married couples, which is equally silly. Poor people are unlikely to marry if it attracts penalties. The arguments for not making pre-nuptial agreements binding in law are even stronger than Marilyn Stowe imagines.

4. Making a pre-nuptial agreement (preparation for divorce) legally enforceable would strike a serious blow at current public policy which is to support marriage as a lifelong commitment. Anything that undermines that would alter a fundamental aspect of public policy which has been part of our tradition for centuries. Indeed, the covenant relationship between God and his people and Christ and His Church have been likened to that of the commitments of spouses, so there is a long history behind it.

5. Even the people supporting enforceable pre-nuptial agreements, like Henry Bellingham, the shadow justice minister, always add the caveat ‘subject to very strict safeguards’, which means the courts would always have the ultimate power to set aside any agreement they did not like, which is really the same as saying these agreements cannot be made enforceable anyway. If couples choose to enter into pre-nuptial agreements and they can only divorce by mutual consent, there is no need for them to be enforceable.

It seems to Cranmer that by entering the covenant of marriage and swearing before God "til death us do part" is utterly negated if a pre-nuptial divorce agreement has preceded the swearing of the sacred vow. Indeed, it is difficult to see how anyone in conscience could take the vow if there has been legally-binding preparation for "til I think it's no longer working".

One wonders how long it will be before the Lord’s covenant with His people will be undermined by Parliament and the courts – subject, of course, to very strict safeguards.

79 Comments:

Blogger Red Kite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 September 2009 at 09:41  
Blogger Evan Price said...

The risk with your 'communicant's' view is that it fails to take into account that we have moved on from the time when marriage was a 'contract' enforcable in law and it fails to take into account that most marriages are, it seems to me, not a 'covenant' at all, but an arrangement between couples that is approved by the state and not the church (or any religious institution).

To assert that divorce should only be granted where there is mutual consent would be hugely retrograde and a mistake. The difficulties of living in a loveless marriage, both in terms of the couple themselves and any children they may have are well known. The silliness of a law that prevents one party walking away from such a relationship without the consent of the other is obvious. The idea that only forced marriage should be capable of being 'negated' by the courts is absurd.

The Conservative party are proposing to amend the tax and benefit system to remove the so-called marriage penalty - although there are those that dispute that it exists. We should not forget that divorce and the costs associated with it are also a penalty ... and so finding a way through that penalty to enable couples to establish mutual agreements in advance of their marriage is not necessarily a bad idea.

At the moment, pre-nuptual agreements can be considered by the courts when looking at a divorce. They are not binding on the parties or the court.

One of the great disadvantages of living longer is that we live in relationships that last longer ... and finding a way to make them work, or when they stop working, allowing them to be ended simply, easily and cost effectively (not merely in terms of financial costs, but also in terms of the emotional and other personal costs) has to be a good idea.

28 September 2009 at 09:48  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Red Kite.

His Grace prefers the Bard's spelling, as rendered in King Lear: 'flibbertegibbet'.

He is unsure of the meaning of your gibberish which follows. If you have anything intelligent or erudite to say upon the matter of this post, please do so.

28 September 2009 at 09:52  
Blogger BrianSJ said...

Being married in the eyes of God is a covenant. Being married in the eyes of the state is a tax arrangement. I fear the two are being confused here.

28 September 2009 at 10:05  
Blogger AskYourPreacher said...

Evan Price's comments are the sad reality of how many people now view marriage. The government, as well as the press, have turned the word 'marriage' into 'decent tax shelter and living arrangement'. The more countries pass legislation along these lines the further we degrade the institution to the point where the average child will grow up without the slightest idea of what the marriage vow actually means.

28 September 2009 at 10:11  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

I wonder if it might be helpful if we were to think in terms of a memorandum by which those entering the marriage covenant record what they are regarding as fair ( at the time of entry) in the event that the marriage fails.

In that way we have the Courts informed as to the parties expectations whilst not bound to them in the event that injustice would result.

This might finesse the problem of demeaning marriage to a contract whilst addressing the mischief of excessive costs arising in the event of divorce.

28 September 2009 at 10:12  
Blogger Red Kite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 September 2009 at 10:15  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

Not so, BrianSJ. Please go and look on the wall in your local Register Office. The State declares marriage to be a lifelong exclusive relationship, following the Judeo-Christian tradition, from which we as a nation have not departed. People have no trouble attending and reproducing on TV Services of Thanksgiving [such as Bobby Robson's] for the lives of those who have adhered to that tradition. Don't imagine for one moment that you can unilaterally bury it.

28 September 2009 at 10:19  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Evan Price said... "The difficulties of living in a loveless marriage, both in terms of the couple themselves and any children they may have are well known."

Well known? By whom? Almost without exception every piece of research I have seen say that the effects of divorce on children is almost entirely detrimental. [Do a quick google of something like "divorce effects on children research"]

The silliness of a law that prevents one party walking away from such a relationship without the consent of the other is obvious.

Obvious? Not to me it isn't - certainly not when there are children involved.

The Conservative party are proposing to amend the tax and benefit system to remove the so-called marriage penalty - although there are those that dispute that it exists.

So called? Easy experiment. Go onto the governments welfare & benefits calculators. Do the calculations as a married couple, 2 young children, mother staying at home to care for them, dad on average wage. Then do the same sums with 2 unmarried single parents, mum with care of children. You will find an overwhelming & bewildering array of benefits options but all loaded towards (a) separated parents (b) paying someone other than the parents to raise children rather than rewarding the parents who choose to raise their own children!

Pre-nups are like the governments & policy to reduce teenage pregnancies; "It's best not to do it but here's a free condom anyway". The sex-advice has proven to be a wholesale failure and pre-nups are will produce much the same level of success.

28 September 2009 at 10:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Outstanding analysis.

What the Conservatives seem to intend is implement an additional legal framework which establishes the tension, in marriage, between two polar opposities at its heart before the honeymoon: ‘’til deat us do part’ versus ‘’til I think it no longer works.’

What the State will do through the nexus of contract law is objectify marriage as essentially a commercial arrangement. Love, courtship, romance, fidelity, trust and commitment will impliedly be commercial products that will each have a price tag decided by parties A and B (C (lawyers), D (Mother-in-law) etc).

It would be a mechanism inserted into marriage whose influence would push towards divorce – a happy hunting ground for lawyers but deeply damaging to children involved.

Getting married and supporting marriage through sound moral principles and tax incentives is the Conservative way forward.

28 September 2009 at 11:34  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Rebel Saint

"Almost without exception every piece of research I have seen say that the effects of divorce on children is almost entirely detrimental."

I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to suggest that it isn't detrimental.

But the question your asking isn't actually worded very well if you were looking for any conflicting opinions.

To ask the effects of divorce on children is always going to produce a negative response. But that isn't the true question that you are making out it is an answer to. You are suggesting that children living with parents that hate each other is better than divorce. They are both bad situations for the child, the question truly is one option (divorce) better than the other (living in a hateful family).

You may also want to google search other things like effects on the lives children with parent living in a loveless marriage.

28 September 2009 at 12:06  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Apologies.

you're* asking

(An edit option may be nice)

28 September 2009 at 12:09  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Apologies.

you're* asking

(An edit option may be nice)

28 September 2009 at 12:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

What an interesting comment from one of your communicants that seems to be a product of the Hegelian influenced mind:

Marriage is ‘but an arrangement between couples that is approved by the state and not the church (or any religious institution).’

This prepares the way for the State to become the sole and oppressive arbitrator of who is married in the eyes of the community and have its calssification accepted and enforced if necessary.

It paves the way for the State, under the Human Rights Act 1998, to classify a ‘marriage’ between a brother and his sister as valid and therefore to be accepted by religious communities. But if a civil partnership is valid, then on what ground can the Left-liberal State refuse to valiadte such a marriage? If it cannot then on what ground, ultimately, can it refuse to invalidate a ‘marriage’ between a fairground ride and two lesbian sisters?

The post-modern socialist State has successfully dismantled the Judaeo-Christian value system in this country inspired by its ideology of the Absolutism of Moral Relativism. The Judaeo-Christian value system provided an overarching framework for law and social policy that accommodated other value systems but not as equal partners. For to do so would lead ultimately to social anarchy.

The State now finds itself attempting to regulate the chaos of the 1960s value ‘Anything goes man!’ and yet it pleads for social cohesion. That pleading is now incoherent – for there is no consensual basis.

The more liberal the State becomes the more regulations it needs to pass to provide a ‘coherent’ framework for relations between people in society – and thus the more, ultimately, oppressive it becomes – and of course the more explicitly Hegelain for in the Hegelian state the individual only finds his identity when he meets the State in whatever capacity.

28 September 2009 at 12:45  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"It paves the way for the State, under the Human Rights Act 1998, to classify a ‘marriage’ between a brother and his sister as valid and therefore to be accepted by religious communities."

I know you are prone to a leap of faith or two but that is a little bit to far of a leap don't you think?

There are other far more valid reasons for biological brothers and sisters not to marry than just the word of your god.

I just can't understand some of the correlations you manage to make, "if you are for abortion then you vote happily for all forms of murder", "If you allow gay people to marry their partners then you are for anything to get married to anything". Obviously paraphrasing but that is essentially your view on the matter (feel free to say otherwise of course).

However if someone wants to marry a fairground ride, it makes them happy and it causes nobody any harm then what is the problem?(which isn't the same as a brother and sister marrying since there is a very high chance of seriously deformed offspring due to inbreeding)

Obviously we can both see that these people are delusional, but if their delusions are there own and don't affect others then surely you can't find a fault with that? You share the same issue with a different delusion after all and if only it didn't encroach on my life I wouldn't mind, unfortunately you want everybody to live following the same delusion and rules laid down by it. And you certainly find no problem with that.

28 September 2009 at 13:33  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Obviously we can both see that these people are delusional, but if their delusions are there own and don't affect others then surely you can't find a fault with that?'

Yes I can.

What if I wanted to 'ride' the fairground ride?

28 September 2009 at 13:36  
Anonymous Jim said...

To argue that divorce should only be allowed with the consent of both parties, while a perfectly decent ethical suggestion, is so far removed from practical policy, and public opinion, as to be pointless.
It will never happen. So dismissing prenups on the grounds that divorce should only be mututally consensual is irrelevant.

The question is - given the current divorce laws, should prenups be enforceable?

I would argue that given I can be divorced without my consent, and the State can force me to pay large sums to my ex wife, it is entirely reasonable for me to ask that some sort of agreement be reached prior to the marriage to cover such eventualities.

As a single man, with considerable assets, I will never sign a marriage certificate while the current laws on divorce and prenups prevail. I would be insane to do so.

28 September 2009 at 14:21  
Blogger Dean McConnell said...

The "pre-nuptual agreement" may also be another attempt to make Sharia law binding for certain marriages by stipulating to it in the agreement.

28 September 2009 at 14:42  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

Jim, you said:

"To argue that divorce should only be allowed with the consent of both parties, while a perfectly decent ethical suggestion, is so far removed from practical policy, and public opinion, as to be pointless."

But, should you and some future wife agree to marry by mutual consent with the full understanding that you can only divorce - should it come to that - by the same process, will you not treat each other before and during the marriage with more mutual respect than is now the case with many couples?

Public attitudes to behaviour can be changed, such as towards car seat belts, drinking and driving, and smoking.

28 September 2009 at 14:55  
Blogger Recusant said...

Exactly right your Grace, which is why a pre-nuptial agreement automatically annuls a marriage in the eyes of the Catholic church, on the principle that you cannot apply contingencies to a life-long and unbreakable bond.

28 September 2009 at 15:12  
Blogger Demetrius said...

For those of us what have done history and watch opera and stuff the business of some kind of marriage contract or settlement is nothing new. It was the norm. When that had been dealt with the union was sanctified by the covenant and blessing of the church, which was essential to the meaning and purpose. It was when the state started messing about with the business that it all became very confused.

28 September 2009 at 15:27  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Perhaps there is a far more fundamental difficulty with marriage that is related to the Judaeo-Christian concept of the Fall.

In Genesis Chapter 3 it is written:

16: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

This may explain why men tend to find their meaning in work and women in relationships. Men may therefore, not find it easy to speak about relationships making a rocky marriage all the more worse. Women may find it difficult to accept, in a Fallen world, that the man ought to be the head of the household. For if there were to be true equality in marriage that would risk deadlock (with one vote each) on many issues.

It is the socialist sisterhood that tries to reverse the effects of the Fall through law – when it is eminently disqualified to do so.

28 September 2009 at 15:38  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"Yes I can.

What if I wanted to 'ride' the fairground ride?"

I think I actually covered this scenario by pointing out that her actions don't affect you.

Some idiot marrying a fairground ride doesn't stop you riding on it, unless she has purchased it and it is no longer open to the public, in which case that is your own hard lines, purchase your own fairground ride or go to one open to the public in that case.

Funny though that you point out, "what if I wanted to ride it?" yet you are quite happy for your religion to make laws and be given privilages that I and many others don't agree with.

What's good for the goose and all that.

28 September 2009 at 16:42  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Singh.

Tad sexist the last post don't you think?

Oh but that's right the church has had an agenda to quieten down troublesome woman for quite some time now hasn't it, and being the good religious person you are you will blindly follow whatever dogma they feed you.

And you try to make out that islam is a backward religion, all just as bad as each other.

28 September 2009 at 16:46  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Some guy marrying a woman doesn't stop you riding her...'

The principle seems remarkably similar.

28 September 2009 at 17:06  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@ Jim 14:21

I rather agree with you, good Sir. Marriage carries a higher degree of financial risk when the male and female's assets are mismatched. Several very wealthy mean have found this out to their cost recently....John Cleese and Paul MaCartney spring to mind.

The crime of gold digging is not recognized in English law, and, even if it were, it would be unenforeable. So your best defence here is to stay single, and enjoy your mistress, if you have one, to the full.

And, possibly, to change her several times a year, in order to protect yourself against a charge that 'he told me he was going to marry him' being unleashed in the courts at public expense and your money. This, actually, comes down to an argument in favour of paid prostitution, since your contract is then only for an hour or so.

This isn't quite what Christian teaching has in mind, but this is reality in ZaNu Labour's 21st century paradise on earth.

I can think of plenty of other examples where to do the right thing in the UK is now completely bonkers when looked at coldly.

28 September 2009 at 17:11  
Blogger D. Singh said...

See - Sir James Fitzjames Stephen who demolished in 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' such daft schoolboy notions.

28 September 2009 at 17:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Upon the practical question all are agreed; but consider the consequences which it involves. It involves the consequence that, so far from being ‘unfortunate necessities,’ command and obedience stand at the very entrance to life, and preside over the most important part of it. It involves the consequence that the exertion of power and constraint is so important and so indispensable in the greatest of all matters that it is a less evil to invest with it every head of a family indiscriminately, however unfit he may be to exercise it, than to fail to provide for its exercise. It involves the consequence that by mere lapse of time and by following the promptings of passion men acquire over others a position of superiority and of inequality which all nations and ages, the most cultivated as well as the rudest, have done their best to surround with every association of awe and reverence. The title of Father is the one which the best part of the human race have given to God, as being the least inadequate and inappropriate means of indicating the union of love, reverence, and submission. Whoever first gave the command or uttered the maxim, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land,’ had a far better conception of the essential conditions of permanent national existence and prosperity than the author of the motto Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.'

Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty, Equality. Fraternity

28 September 2009 at 17:51  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

I would have thought that pre-nups were more suited to co-habiting couples who have taken no vows, which would possibly decrease anxiety sufficiently in some cases so that the couple could move towards marriage. Heaven knows we need to do something about the tsunami of cut-and-paste families drowning society.

28 September 2009 at 19:04  
Anonymous Jim said...

Nick Gulliford said:

'But, should you and some future wife agree to marry by mutual consent with the full understanding that you can only divorce - should it come to that - by the same process, will you not treat each other before and during the marriage with more mutual respect than is now the case with many couples?'

Indeed I would, and given the chance by the State, would much more happily sign such a marriage contract. But the State will not allow me and my prospective bride to amend the marriage contract in any way. It's their contract or nothing.

As an adult UK citizen any legal agreements I sign (such as mortgage documents, credit card agreements, property purchases, business agreements) are enforceable in court. As long as I have not been coerced in any way, and am of sound mind, if I sign a document that holds clauses that may cause me hardship, that's my lookout. I shouldn't have signed without checking it all out first.

But if two consenting adults sign a document detailing what will happen in the event of their divorce, suddenly the State will not enforce such a document. Why not?

I repeat - no sensible man should sign a UK marriage contract while the law allows his wife to divorce him unilaterally, take way his children and demand half his assets. Anyone stupid enough to sign such a document really deserves everything he gets, its that one sided.

28 September 2009 at 19:43  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

The point is, Jim, marriage is a covenant, not a contract.

Please see 5. above:

"Even the people supporting enforceable pre-nuptial agreements, like Henry Bellingham, the shadow justice minister, always add the caveat ‘subject to very strict safeguards’, which means the courts would always have the ultimate power to set aside any agreement they did not like, which is really the same as saying these agreements cannot be made enforceable anyway. If couples choose to enter into pre-nuptial agreements and they can only divorce by mutual consent, there is no need for them to be enforceable."

28 September 2009 at 20:20  
Anonymous miserable sinner said...

In the olden days when divorces were much more difficult to obtain, couples still divorced. The difference to the couple was that the innocent party could delay the divorce for a while to see if things would get better, or until the children were older, or until the wife had finished the schooling that would enable her to be self-supporting. In contrast, "divorce on demand" creates enormous everyday stress because any quarrel could result in the filing of legal papers.

Most of the divorces today are "lifestyle divorces" in which one party has decided that the grass will be greener elsewhere. In this situation, the children would usually be better off with grumbling, married parents than with being bounced back and forth between two homes. In situations in which the mother does not remarry and the father drifts away from the family, the child grows up with fewer social and educational opportunities than he would have had otherwise.

28 September 2009 at 20:58  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace - maybe we've reached the point where a marriage covenant already is a contract, a de facto one if not a de jure one.

No, I don't like it. But, as in so many other things, by their interpretation in the courts, marriage has been reduced to a contract anyway.

And, as in your communicant Jim's case above, I reluctantly agree with him that he'd be nuts to sign up to the present arrangements.

28 September 2009 at 21:01  
Anonymous Alfred Wells said...

Ruthless networking but I don't care:

Germans are awesome:

http://www.corrupt.org/news/germans_lead_the_way

28 September 2009 at 21:16  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

Old Grumpy, dare I say, you are missing the point too!

Jim said, "no sensible man should sign a UK marriage contract while the law allows his wife to divorce him unilaterally".

I am proposing she won't be able to do that, becasue she won't be able to obtain a divorce without there being 'mutual consent'.

If she wants out, to obtain his consent she will need to agree to his terms. If he says I am hanging onto my dosh, then she must either accept that or settle for a legal separation.

It is really very simple.

28 September 2009 at 21:21  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

@D.Singh

"The principle seems remarkably similar."

Eh.... No.

28 September 2009 at 21:58  
Blogger Bluddax said...

Here I have to declare an interest.. as a married man of nearly thirty years now, I suspect what has happened, as has happened so often recently, is an attack of the "law of unconsidered consequences"..

Within my lifetime, divorce has been made much easier (to the benefit I suspect of many trapped within a relationship that was, in reality, unsustainable).. What has not happened is the compensatory measure.. Marriage is easy, divorce is now easy.. perhaps we should no make marriage more difficult to compansate for the ease of divorce?..

29 September 2009 at 04:30  
Blogger Bluddax said...

I did, of course, mean compensate..

29 September 2009 at 04:33  
Blogger Bluddax said...

Oh dear.. and *now* not *no*..

I am bereft and I look in accusatory fashion at my aged keyboard, which faces me back with a nonchalance as only an aged peripheral can..

29 September 2009 at 04:37  
Blogger Manfarang said...

"Judeo-Christian tradition"
The Jewish view of marriage is different from the Christian one.
In ancient times a Jewish man could have more than one wife as indeed could a man in some middle-eastern communities in modern times.
Divorce is also recognised.

29 September 2009 at 05:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘Eh … No’

Mr Glovner?

That I think sums up the range and magnitude of Glovner’s intellectual limits. He reaches conclusions different to that which the ordinary uninstructed reader would anticipate. That, one supposes, at least in his mind, adds to his intellectual prestige without bothering to appeal to authority. If there is discord between his first principles, signalling the risk of failure, at the range of conclusions he might arrive at, he waves his hand as if it were of no consequence; thus disrespecting the few who struggle to make sense of the discrepancy between his abstract musings and facts observed.

29 September 2009 at 08:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about struggling with facts, but you guys need to get layed!

29 September 2009 at 08:45  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

Manfarang said, "the Jewish view of marriage is different from the Christian one."

There is certainly some truth in that.

In England Jews cannot obtain a civil divorce as easily as others.

"If the [Jewish] husband does not apply to the Beth Din for a get and deliver it to his wife, she cannot remarry under Jewish law.

The Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act, which came into force in 2003, provided some assistance by enabling the English divorce courts to require the dissolution of the religious marriage before granting a civil divorce. That means that a husband who refuses to deliver a get to his wife will not be able to obtain a civil divorce and lawfully remarry." [Edward Garnier - in the case of Mrs. Masuma Jariwalla, Westminster Hall debate 10th June 2009]

It would be just a little different from the Jewish divorce process if all divorcing couples were required to agree 'by mutual consent' before the divorce is granted. The difference being that men and women would be treated equally. That is what I am proposing.

There seems to be a Hindu tradition along these lines:

"Where both the parties mutually agree that they want to divorce a petition may be presented on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and
that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved. Thereafter both the parties have to make a motion to the court not earlier than 6 months and not later than 18 months from the date of presentation of the petition and the court after hearing the parties and on being satisfied will pass a decree of divorce."

The Conservatives have proposed prenuptial agreements which are nothing more than preparations for divorce.

29 September 2009 at 08:50  
Anonymous bethel said...

Marriage has always been a type of contract. Think of dowries and political marriages of old.
'Subject to safeguards' especially when spouted by legislators or would be's, usually denotes that the proposals are inherently weak, inchoate and subject to doubt about their workability, but no-one wants to say so, no-one is quite sure what to do, and they don't care if anyone notices that they are bullsh...ing.

29 September 2009 at 09:01  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I get 'laid' regularly, thanks very much for the tip though Anon.

"That I think sums up the range and magnitude of Glovner’s intellectual limits"

Does it? It looks to me like I was just saying no to your ridiculous notion that some nut marrying a fairground ride is the same as marrying another person. Added to the fact that some nut being married to it doesn't stop you from riding on it no matter how much your illogical mind wants to make you think that. And if you really believe otherwise then maybe you are in the intellectual boat as the people marrying fairground rides.

"He reaches conclusions different to that which the ordinary uninstructed reader would anticipate."

Well if you consider your train of thought to be ordinary then I am glad to be different in your book.

"If there is discord between his first principles, signalling the risk of failure, at the range of conclusions he might arrive at, he waves his hand as if it were of no consequence;"

You keep talking about these discords but never once have you provided an example so what is the point of me even discussing it further since I disagree with you and you don't provide any evidence to make me think otherwise. Also bearing in mind that you pick and choose what part of a statement you want to read ignoring the rest and taking the message completely out of context. You are worse than the media to be honest.

As for waving my hand like it doesn't matter. Well it doesn't really, here we are two people on the internet that will probably never meet that disagree with one another. We aren't going to change the world by our disagreements and to be honest you really don't have any affect on my life whatsoever, so you are correct in asserting that it doesn't matter to me. If it matters that much to you then I apologise, but you really need to learn that in the grand scheme of things that you or I are not important. Thankfully not everyone has the same opinions as you otherwise the world would be quite a horrible place.

"thus dissrespecting the few who struggle to make sense of the discrepancy between his abstract musings and facts observed."

No disrespect involved really, seems a tad hypocritical to suggest it considering most of your posts are dripping with scorn and hate for anything/anyone that doesn't agree with your messed up way of thinking. Thinking is maybe a little to far though, all you do is follow the same dogma that has been stuffed down the throats of people like you for centuries while never bothering to think for yourselves.


So once again, marrying a fairground ride and marrying a person you love:

"The principle seems remarkably similar."

Erm.....No.

29 September 2009 at 09:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember C S Lewis wrote (in the 50's!) that it was time that the concept of marriage was clearly divided into two different terms to distinguish between those who wanted to make a spiritually-inspired covenant relationship, and those who simply wanted to make a socially-endorsed partnership agreement.

I think it's time we extended the concept of civil partnership to all unions without a faith-based explicit lifetime commitment (which is arguably only Christian ones), because they really are two entirely different beasts, and as Recusant pointed out - pre-nup agreements are the antithesis of the latter; which IMO is the only one really entitled to be called 'marriage'.

Then it might be possible (with the political will!!) to frame different legislation for each type, and possibly even stop discriminating financially against committed spouses. But I'm not holding my breath.

29 September 2009 at 09:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Glovner

‘A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.’

C.S. Lewis

29 September 2009 at 09:31  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace - much as I enjoy both The Glovner's and Mr D Singh's individual posts, it does appear that there's a certain degree of friction between the two of them recently.

Perhaps we should shut them up together in a locked room and see when we let them out whether they are consenting adults?

Either way, guys, please agree to differ.

29 September 2009 at 10:22  
Blogger D. Singh said...

No, please, Your Grace; it would be like putting two squabbling ferrets in the same sack.

29 September 2009 at 10:27  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

That was a good quote from CS Lewis
Mr Singh.Surprised at your comment
Grumps.Rather risque and quite out of character.I'm referring to the consenting adult quip.This discussion is obviously getting you a little hot and bothered and it might be time for a visit to the confessional.Besides you're
setting a poor example for the recusant.

29 September 2009 at 10:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Sydneysider

Hot and bothered? Just lemme at 'im! Just lemme at 'im!

Pistols at dawn; nay sabres at dawn!

29 September 2009 at 10:53  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

And here was me believing that you preach religion to be a message of peace and forgivness.

29 September 2009 at 11:40  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Speaking from a female perspective, if you have to sign a pre-nup then what's the point of the marriage?

Speaking as someone who has been married to the same bloke for almost twenty seven years, I think marriage is a wonderful thing if it works well. I consider myself to be very fortunate I found such a good and loving man.

Speaking as the daughter of divorced parents I don't think there is anything worse than forcing people who have grown to dislike each other to live together. My parents worked hard (and fought harder) to keep the marriage going for over twenty years before finally conceding defeat.

29 September 2009 at 12:18  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Glovner

Duelling is not ruled out:

‘… so many people cannot be brought to realise that when B is better than C, A may be even better than B. They like thinking in terms of good and bad, not of good, better, and best, or bad, worse and worst. They want to know whether you think patriotism a good thing: if you reply that it is, of course, far better than individual selfishness, but that it is inferior to universal charity and should always give way to universal charity when the two conflict, they think you are being evasive. They ask what you think of duelling. If you reply that it is far better to forgive a man than to fight a duel with him, but that even a duel might be better than a lifelong enmity which expresses itself in secret efforts to "do the man down," they go away complaining that you would not give them a straight answer.’

C.S. Lewis

29 September 2009 at 12:23  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"Speaking from a female perspective, if you have to sign a pre-nup then what's the point of the marriage?"

Bear in mind that a pre-nup doesn't have to be ruling in favour of a man though.

Things are a little fairer up here in Scottish Law land anyway that the need of a pre-nup is less. In Scotland it is only ruled to be the assets that are made within the marriage that the partner has any claim on.

So if someone made a cool £10 mil before being married and can show that his/her spouse had no part in that money being made then his/her spouse has no claim on the money.

Which I have to say seems pretty fair to me and doesn't take away anything from the commitment of marriage.

Then there is the flip side to that where there was the football player down in England (Sorry but the name escapes me for the moment, don't follow the premiership, strictly international and Scotland for me) who after getting divorced from his wife it was decreed that a portion of his future earnings for the rest of his wage earning life should be siphoned off to his ex-wife.

That somehow doesn't really seem fair and I could definately see the grounds for pre-nups to made available to stop that sort of mad-cap ruling ever happening again.

29 September 2009 at 13:09  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

And to Mr Singh (again I assume it is Mr, but you have never made it clear so I apologise if this is incorrect).

Why if you feel that it is alright to see some things in shades of grey so many others are completely black and white to you.

Take your religion for instance, your religion is right all others are wrong, only yours can save regardless of how good a person you are.

Abortion for instance, any abortion is wrong, doesn't seem to matter if the mother and child would die if the birth went ahead, doesn't matter if the mother was raped and maybe couldn't ever bring herself to love the child without even bringing the mental anguish it could put the mother through having to carry the child for 9 months. Children born to addict parents who probably shouldn't be taking on the role of a parent in the first place just giving rise to the endless cycle of bad parenting we see in the world on a daily basis.

"If there is discord between his first principles, signalling the risk of failure, at the range of conclusions he might arrive at, he waves his hand as if it were of no consequence"

Or alternatively, instead of waving your hand you begin to endlessly quote CS Lewis.

Black and white or shades of grey which is it? Or is it just whatever suits you at the time to "support" your argument?

29 September 2009 at 13:17  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Glovner

‘Take your religion for instance, your religion is right all others are wrong, only yours can save regardless of how good a person you are.’

That is correct. Full marks – you’ve passed.

‘Abortion for instance, any abortion is wrong,...’

No Christian has stated that on this message board. You are the first to assert that.

You must desist from constructing straw men and then using them as target practice.

You missed.

The writings of the late Prof. C.S. Lewis are eminently quotable and are deployed not only to support argument but also to appeal to authority. So far I have deduced that the only authority you appeal to, is, wait for it: Mr Glovner.

If not, surprise us?

29 September 2009 at 13:27  
Anonymous Harry Potter said...

Let's face it, the bible would simply be crap without all the death, violence, floodings, furnaces, lion's dens, utter destroyances, slaughterings of innocents, crucifixions, whippings and beatings, animal and human sacrifice, incest, burning trees, plagues, demons, war, destruction, sin and punishments, talking snakes, Dr Who-like flood avoidance capsules, giants, golden arcs, angels, virgin mothers, walking on water etc etc etc....all the things that juice up a good fantasy fiction horror story.

29 September 2009 at 14:01  
Anonymous Jim said...

@TheGlovner: the footballer you were thinking of was Ray Parlour, of Arsenal, Middlesborough and England.

The best (or worst really I suppose) case I can recall was of an opera singer who divorced his wife 10 years ago, paid a considerable sum and alimony based on his income at the time. After the divorce his career improved, and his earnings rose considerably. His ex wife returned to court and had her alimony increased as well. This despite the fact he had remarried, and had more children.

What sort of justice is that? As far as I can see it is glorified prostitution. The only reason she could claim such money was the fact that she had had sex with him. If she hadn't the marriage could be annulled on grounds of non-consumation, and no divorce settlement would be needed.

In these days of so called sexual equality I see no reason for alimony or divorce settlements whatsoever. Merely child support payments for any children involved.

29 September 2009 at 14:26  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

In Australia only assets accumulated in the marriage can be made claim to.I had no idea this
isn't the case in England.If so,it
surprises me that anyone with assets marries at all.Pre nups
here only work for defacto
relationships ...become invalid
if one marries.
@Glovenor.Read C S Lewis biography You'll like it.
like it.

29 September 2009 at 15:48  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

SydneySider

It isn't the case in English law, it is the case in Scottish Law.

29 September 2009 at 17:03  
Blogger D. Singh said...

With acknowledgement to Mr Shakespeare and apology:

'To bait fish withal: if it feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Judaeo-Christain. Hath not a Judaeo-Christian eyes? hath not a Judaeo-Christian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as an atheist is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Judaeo-Christian wrong an atheist, what is his humility? Revenge! If an atheist wrong a Judaeo-Christian, what should his sufferance be by atheist example? Why, revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.'

Your Grace, for now I shall sheath my sword.

Mr Glovner - an olive branch - let us agree to differ.

29 September 2009 at 17:04  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

If we can agree to disagree that's fine with me.

What a boring place the world would be if we all thought the same.

29 September 2009 at 17:18  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Then the matter is settled. A truce it shall be.

29 September 2009 at 17:54  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@sydneysider 10:47

Believe it or not, I was simply quoting from a published biography from the 1960's. A boardroom argument which was getting out of hand, and that was the Chairman's very tongue in cheek suggestion to cool things down. Not me getting either hot and bothered, or indeed hot under the collar. But certainly nothing intended to rile you needlessly, apologies if that was the case.

However, then, as indeed now, it appeared to have had the desired effect, or maybe they sorted it out by themselves. I wouldn't wish to claim credit unduly. The truce suggestion seems good to me. Let's hope it lasts more than a day or two.

One of the joys of His Grace's blog is that most postings are grown up (I hesitate to use the word "adult", good Sir, in case that's once again misleading) and I hope that His Grace is able to keep it that way

29 September 2009 at 18:06  
Anonymous non mouse said...

D. Singh - love your last posting. Full support to your side on this.

As for Mr. Potter - the Dark Side appears to have crept up on and all over him. He needs to remember the family he grew up with, and learn to understand why the Bible is full of the things he describes so crudely.

As the more erudite on this site have indicated before, there's more to narrative than the story. I would add that as soon as you put characters into the narrative the whole thing flies out of balance, becomes polluted, and, were in not for Christ, hopeless.

P.S: Hoping and Praying for the Best for His Grace.

29 September 2009 at 18:09  
Blogger English Viking said...

What God has joined together, let no man cast asunder.

29 September 2009 at 21:26  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Old Grumpy revealed where the brakes were; Sydneysider the mediator. What am I to say: blessed are the peacemakers.

If it had not been for Old Grumpy and Mr Sydneysider, I would have, in the heat of the moment ,‘Gone nuclear’.

And non-mouse - has humbled me.

Your Grace, something is wrong.

Your communicants, are praying for you. Whatever has happened; please don’t give in.

You are not alone.

Recall St Paul; do you remember, when he quoted the military order of Roman commanders?

“Stand firm!”

29 September 2009 at 21:37  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

"whom" may be more appropriate than "what", English Viking.

But you are quite right with, "Whom God has joined together, let no man cast asunder."

Which is another good reason for granting divorces only to couples who have mutually consented to them.

29 September 2009 at 21:40  
Blogger Conservative Vision said...

http://conservative-vision.blogspot.com/

29 September 2009 at 23:10  
Blogger Conservative Vision said...

Please take a moment to check out my brand new blog; it will be updated daily as of tomorrow, so please add it to your favourites and give it a go. I hope you won't be disappointed.

Thank you kindly for the platform, your Grace.

29 September 2009 at 23:19  
Blogger English Viking said...

Nick Guiliford @ 21:40

Mark 10 v 9 KJV

I am more aware of the teachings of Scripture than of the rules of English grammar. However, on this occasion, I was correct on both.

30 September 2009 at 13:31  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

Good for you, English Viking!

My apologies.

It is, nevertheless, more importantly, a good argument for divorce only by mutual consent.

30 September 2009 at 14:00  
Anonymous Tanfield said...

Your Grace
Should not the CofE consider removing the words from the marriage service (forgive me if the quote is not 100% accurate )"I thee all my wordly goods endow". This has been used in the past to justify these excessive claims on (usually) the husband's income/assets. After all the feminist lobby a few years ago secured the removal of the words "and obey" from the female marriage vow. As others have stated above anyone with assets would be crazy to marry these days without a pre-nup -notwithstanding all the principled arguments against.

30 September 2009 at 15:03  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

This is a good point, Tanfield, though I think "all my worldly goods with thee I share" is more common.

The Australian and Scottish divorce provisions - mentioned above - illustrate that courts there need only consider assets created within the marriage at the time of a divorce. Each party retaining assets brought into the marriage.

From a Christian perspective this seems fair to me. Both parties commit themselves to sharing everything within the marriage, but - in the event of a break-up - other rules can be applied without any loss of the principles of exclusivity, lifelong, or full sharing.

30 September 2009 at 15:31  
Blogger English Viking said...

Nick Gulliford @ 14:00

Your apology is gratefully accepted. I am sorry if I appear pedantic, but Mark 10 v 9 is not a good argument for divorce, whether that be by mutual consent or not. It is a plain statement, Spirit inspired and revealing the mind of God himself, that marriage is for life, no ifs, buts or maybes. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, thin or fat, beautiful or ugly, thick flowing mane or bright shining slap-head, fair or unfair. The last one on the list is where most Christians fall down. They assume that their happiness is of paramount importance to God, and that He wishes only for their happiness regardless of all other circumstances, that He will order events to make it so. With this in mind, as soon as one of the partners in a marriage begins to behave unreasonably, they're off, and believe it to be the will of God.

30 September 2009 at 18:24  
Blogger Nick Gulliford said...

You are right on this occasion too, English Viking, if what I had said was that the verse from Mark was a good argument for divorce!

It clearly isn't. I might have expressed the argument I was trying to make rather better if I had said something like, "Mutual consent removes the charge of 'man cast[ing] asunder' if both members of a couple are required to agree the terms of the divorce before it is ratified."

At present our divorce system lends itself to litigation.

As I have said earlier, if couples know they can only divorce by mutual consent they will be more inclined to treat each other with respect before and during marriage.

You may like to see what I wrote in response to Manfarang above.

30 September 2009 at 19:44  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Grumps ...some levity please! Just indulging in a little jab and thrust to keep you on your toes.

1 October 2009 at 16:58  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Isn't it part of the Communist manifesto to destroy the family, now why, if Communism is about fairness and redistribution would they want to destroy families.

3 October 2009 at 23:39  

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