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Unusual Divorce & Marriage Laws Still in Existence

Divorce and family law is unfamiliar territory for most people. Even as some state laws seem complex and unusual, though, there are a number of truly bizarre marital laws that would be enough to make anyone raise an eyebrow.

At Moskowitz Law Group, LLC, our New Jersey divorce attorneys are dedicated to helping clients understand their rights and interests in divorce, as well as the various laws and issues that apply to their cases. While we take the law and our roles as advocates very seriously, we also find that looking at divorce laws from a different prospective can help provide a new and refreshing take on marriage and divorce, not to mention a few laughs.

Below is a list of some of the most unusual divorce and marriage laws still in existence throughout the U.S. and abroad.

  • In some countries, divorce is illegal – While divorce rates hit their peak in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s, they have still remained consistent throughout recent years. While that wasn’t always so common, it wasn’t because divorce was against the law. Americans have generally always had the right to divorce. In some countries, however, that isn’t the case. For example, divorce is still essentially illegal in the Philippines, though Filipino citizens who marry foreign citizens can divorce their spouse’s native country.
  • Some countries have many requirements for divorce – Even in countries where divorce is legal, it isn’t necessarily an easy process. In countries such as Chile, which only recently adopted some forms of legal divorce, prevailing law requires spouses to jump through many hoops before their divorce can be granted. This includes providing a valid reason for the divorce, as well as a lengthy separation period of up to several years.
  • Divorce and remarriage – While not very common, there are many stories of spouses who divorce and remarried again after rekindling their relationships. In Kentucky, however, state law puts its foot down for any couple that looks to marry after already getting divorced three times, as remarrying the same person four times is technically illegal.
  • Grounds for divorce – In the U.S., spouses can choose a no-fault divorce, which means they don’t have to cite a specific reason or injustice for terminating a marriage (although there are still fault-based divorces). Even when they do choose to cite a grounds for divorce, those reasons typically make sense (i.e. domestic violence or a criminal conviction and incarceration). In some states, however, there are more unusual reasons for getting a divorce. This includes a law from Wichita, Kansas which allows divorce in cases where a spouse mistreats their mother-in-law, and a Tennessee law that allows “attempted murder” as a valid justification for calling it quits. Other countries have some strange grounds for divorce as well. In Samoa, for example, women with husbands who forget their birthdays have a legal basis to divorce them, as do women in Saudi Arabia whose husbands fail to bring them fresh coffee each day.
  • Jokes and dares – Marriage proposals are serious business for most couples, but the state of Delaware seems to think that not all marriages are rooted in serious terms. One Delaware state law still in effect allows couples who marry in jest or on a dare, even if it was just one spouse who did, to file for an annulment.

While many of these divorce laws are simply outdated, were passed at a time when local jurisdictions faced different issues, or are simply unusual when compared to current U.S. marital laws, it is important to remember that there are numerous laws, regulations, and rules of procedure that govern marriage and any proceeding designed to terminate that marriage. In short, if there is anything to be learned from this list, it is that marriage and divorce are indeed legal matters subject to the law.

If you have questions involving divorce laws as they exist today in New Jersey or New York, our legal team at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC is available to answer them. Our attorneys represent individuals and families in a range of divorce and family law matters, and is prepared to review your particular situation and discuss how we may be able to help. Contact us today for a free case review.