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Legal Aspects of Marriage | Legal Consultancy

Marriage is a legally sanctioned contract between a man and a woman. Entering this legal contract changes the legal status of parties, My Fit Brain.

Rohtash Malik Legal 06 Jan 2018
Legal Aspects of Marriage
4 Years Ago 395 Reads 6 min read

Legal Aspects of a Marriage

Marriage is a legally accepted contract between a man and a woman. Entering into a marriage contract provides new rights and obligations to both partners and thus changes their legal status. To preserve morality and civilization, marriage has been considered important traditionally. Both of them have the obligation to support each other.  In the past, it was the duty of a husband to provide a safe home, pay for necessities such as food and clothing, and a wife was responsible for maintaining a home, staying in the home, and raising the children. 

Changes in society have largely modified these marital roles as married men have become more involved in child-rearing and married women have joined the workforce in large numbers. These agreements also include property rights and the conditions that will apply when a couple ends in divorce. Separation agreements such as child support, visitation, and temporary maintenance of a spouse are entered into during the marriage before action for separation or divorce begins. The laws governing these agreements generally relate to protecting every marriage for social reasons, whether the parties wish to or not. Experts suggest that couples should try to resolve their difficulties as it is more efficient and effective than putting their issues before the courts. 

Legal Aspects of Marriage

A marriage bestows rights and obligations not only on married parties but also sometimes on relatives as well. Historically, many societies have given rights and obligations to husbands that are very different from rights and obligations given to wives. The control of the marital property, the right of inheritance, and the right to determine the activities of the children of the marriage are usually given to a male. However, these practices were largely discontinued in the twentieth century in many countries, especially western countries, and more modern laws define the rights and duties of a spouse without reference to gender. In various marriage laws around the world, however, the husband has the authority and also the exclusive right of the head of the family.

Rights and Obligations

The following are the rights and obligations that vary greatly among legal systems, societies, and groups within a society.

  • Giving a husband/wife responsibility for some portion of a spouse's debts.
  • Giving a husband/wife or his/her family control over some portion of a spouse's labor or property.
  • Giving a husband/wife visitation rights when his/her spouse is hospitalized.
  • Establishing a relationship among the families of the spouses.
  • Establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children.
  • Establishing the second legal guardian of a parent's child.
  • Giving a husband/wife control over his/her spouse's affairs when the spouse is incapacitated.

Marriage Age:

Marriage Age

The minimum age at which a person is able to legally marry and it varies from country to country and also requires parental or other consent. The minimum age for marriage in India is 18 for girls and 21 for boys. The minimum age in America is 18 years, except  Mississippi (21) and Nebraska (19). If they are unable to obtain it, they may obtain consent from the Courts, which may be granted by the Magistrate Courts, or High Courts.

Dowry System:

The dowry system in India refers to durable goods, cash, and real or movable property that is given to the groom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of marriage by the bride's family. It is essentially in the nature of payment in cash or some kind of gift to the groom as well as the groom's family. It can also include cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, bedding,  furniture, crockery, utensils, and other household items. Dowry is a demand for property or valuable security within the meaning of the expression contemplated by the Dowry Prohibition Act, which is an inconsistent nexus with marriage. Presently dowry is the source of both pleasure and curse in society. It is a joy for the husband and his relatives who receive cash, expensive clothes, and utensils, bedding, furniture, materials, etc.

But, it is a curse for the parents of the bride, who have to bear heavy costs to meet unreasonable demands.

Even after marriage, the demand for dowry does not reduce. Indian in-laws of the bride are very ready to endure harassment, humiliation, and torture in homes, both mental and physical. When the bride's parents are pressured more, their beloved daughter has no other option so she commits suicide to avoid more humiliation and torture at the hands of her husband's family members. 

This curse of dowry should be abolished at any cost. Women from all walks of life, literate or illiterate, poor or rich, young or old should all unite and come forward to protect their own honor and interest. Although the government has promoted some anti-dowry laws, they have not yielded the desired results. To remove this evil once for all, people's efforts are also required.

Women should be empowered and also taught from childhood that their life is not worthless without marriage. Gender-based inequality should be eliminated completely and the status of women in society should be raised. Girls should get the opportunity to get an education in schools and also they should be encouraged for higher education. Proper education will be helpful for girls in educating their rights.

Their marriage age should be increased and the practice of mass marriage should be encouraged for the sake of the economy. They should be encouraged to enter various sectors of paid jobs, as their high economic status will also discourage the demand for dowry.

Final Words:

Finally, I can say that marriage is not only a contract between man and woman but also a contract between their families. Marrying a woman doesn't mean that she is the property of the husband and husband's family. She should be treated with respect and honored and in this way given her a reason to treat you the same. 

It is a legal and formal union agreement between them and it unites them legally, financially, and emotionally.

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