Marriage is a legally sanctioned contract between a man and a woman. Entering into a marriage contract changes the legal status of parties, giving husband and wife new rights and obligations. Public policy is strongly in favor of marriage based on the belief that it preserves the family unit. Traditionally, marriage has been viewed as vital to the preservation of morals and civilization. A husband has the obligation to support a wife, and that a wife has the duty to serve. In the past, this has meant that the husband has the duty to provide a safe house, to pay for necessities such as food and clothing, and to live in the house. A wife's obligation has traditionally entailed maintaining a home, living in the home, having sexual relations with her husband, and rearing the couple's children. Changes in society have modified these marital roles to a considerable degree as married women have joined the workforce in large numbers, and more married men have become more involved in child rearing.
These agreements involve property rights and the terms that will be in force if a couple's marriage ends in Divorce. Separation agreements are entered into during the marriage prior to the commencement of an action for a separation or divorce. These agreements are concerned with Child Support, visitation, and temporary maintenance of a spouse. The laws governing these agreements are generally concerned with protecting every marriage for social reasons, whether the parties desire it or not. Experts suggest that couples should try to resolve their own difficulties because that is more efficient and effective than placing their issues before the courts.
A marriage, by definition, bestows rights and obligations on the married parties, and sometimes on relatives as well, being the sole mechanism for the creation. Historically, many societies have given sets of rights and obligations to husbands that have been very different from the sets of rights and obligations given to wives. In particular, the control of marital property, inheritance rights, and the right to dictate the activities of children of the marriage, have typically been given to male
Marital partners. However, these practices were curtailed to a great deal in many countries, especially Western countries, in the twentieth century, and more modern statutes tend to define the rights and duties of a spouse without reference to gender. In various marriage laws around the world, however, the husband continues to have authority; "In relations between husband and wife; the position of the head of the family is the exclusive right of the husband".
These rights and obligations vary considerably among legal systems, societies, and groups within a society, and may include:
- Giving a husband/wife or his/her family control over some portion of a spouse's labor or property.
- Giving a husband/wife responsibility for some portion of a spouse's debts.
- Giving a husband/wife visitation rights when his/her spouse is incarcerated or hospitalized.
- Giving a husband/wife control over his/her spouse's affairs when the spouse is incapacitated.
- Establishing the second legal guardian of a parent's child.
- Establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children.
- Establishing a relationship between the families of the spouses.
The minimum age at which a person is able to lawfully marry, and whether parental or other consents are required, vary from country to country. In the U.S the minimum age is 18 except for Nebraska (19) and Mississippi (21). In England and Wales the general age at which a person may marry is 18, but 16- or 17-year-olds may get married with their parents' or guardians' consent. If they are unable to obtain this, they can gain consent from the courts, which may be granted by the Magistrates' Courts, or the County or High Court family divisions.
The Dowry system in India refers to the durable goods, cash, and real or movable property that the bride's family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of the marriage. It is essentially in the nature of a payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to the bridegroom's family along with the bride and includes cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newlyweds set up their home.
“Dowry” in the sense of the expression contemplated by Dowry Prohibition Act is a demand for property of valuable security having an inextricable nexus with the marriage, i.e., it is a consideration from the side of the bride’s parents or relatives to the groom or his parents and/or guardian for the agreement to wed the bride-to-be
The dowry at present is a source of both joy and curse in the society. It is also a joy to the husband and his relatives who get cash, costly dress and utensils, furniture, bedding materials, etc. But, it is a curse to the bride’s parents who have to bear enormous cost to satisfy the unreasonable demands of the bridegroom’s party. A demand of dowry does not diminish even after marriage. The in-laws of the bride are very much ready in Indian homes to inflict harassment, insults and tortures-both mental and physical. When more pressure is put on the bride’s parents, their dear daughter has no other option but to commit suicide to avoid more insult and torture at the hands of the members of her husband’s family.
This curse of Dowry System must be eradicated forth with at any cost. Women from every walk of life, literate or illiterate, poor or rich, young or old must unite together and come forward to protect their own honors and interest. Though the Government has promulgated certain anti-dowry laws, these have not produced the desired results. People’s efforts are also necessary if this evil is to be removed once for all. The high expenditure of the marriage ceremony must be cut down.
Women must be empowered. Gender-based inequality should be completely abolished and the position of women in the society should be raised. Women must be taught since girlhood that their life is not useless without marriage.
Girls should get the opportunity to get education at schools. After completion of school education, they should be encouraged to have higher education. Proper education of girls would be helpful in educating girls and women of their rights. Their age of marriage should be raised. They should be encouraged to enter into various fields of paid jobs, as their higher economic status also discourages demands for dowry. The practice of mass marriage should be encouraged for the sake of economy
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