Friday, December 28, 2012

The 7-1/2 Year Marriage License

Excerpt from Chapter 9 -- Pages 206-209


The policy of termed marriage licenses was an extremely novel one.  I viewed it at the time as a bit reprehensible in my heart, but the government could not overlook the will of the people.  The idea of termed marriages worked out to be perfect on just about every level.  As divorce rates, by that time, had grown to almost sixty percent, there seemed to be no point in marriages being considered for life anymore.  It just wasn’t the way that families in America were structured.

Another benefit was the strain on the relationship that this kind of the marriage alleviated.  There really was not the need for a messy divorce as people knew that they could just wait out the current term of their marriage and that would be the end of it.  Of course, messy break-ups of marriages did not become a thing of the past, as the dilemma is still a big problem when both parties do not want to separate to the same degree.  However, that was no different than what was going on prior to the termed licenses so it didn’t matter all that much.

A third benefit was the reduction of costs of legal fees.  Divorce law was a massive business and usually the biggest cost incurred during separations.  Since the settlement was now predetermined as part of the marriage license, legal expenses were lessened.  By 2025, hardly anyone went to court anymore.  Initially, there were many marriage licenses that were called into question when the marriage broke up, and it was primarily by the person who had not increased financially as much as the other.

Prior to 2018, however, there was a great injustice happening in America as the wealthier person was unceremoniously being robbed of half their wealth as a result of a divorce.  The prime example that began the backlash was Tiger Woods divorce.  Though he was clearly guilty of many infidelities, he had to part with over $500,000,000.  No one ever contested that Tiger earned all the revenue for the couple, and that she certainly provided well in her role as mother and wife, but at the end of the day I don’t think anyone felt she deserved that much money after just three years of marriage.  There was very much a sentiment in America at the time that Tiger was, in fact, being punished.

The situation as I mentioned earlier, is that many women viewed their appearance and sexuality as their means of gaining stability in society.  These women were regularly initiating divorces at ridiculous high numbers as a means of cashing in on their husbands wealth.  This happened at all levels and needed to be curtailed.  To be fair though, many men who found themselves in these situations were quite culpable in sustaining this circumstance as they married the women for their appearance.

The termed marriage license had a list of independent assets as well as the expected financial positions for each partner throughout the balance of the marriage.  There usually was a willingness on both parties to share matrimonial assets that grew (or shrunk) over the period of the license, and that was agreed upon at the time as well.  Whatever amount in either hard cash or percentages of assets was agreed upon was what was rewarded at the end of the license period.  Most of the time, it was a 50/50 split, so in practice remarkably little changed.  Where there was a substantive improvement in the dissolution phase, was where one party had a disproportionate amount of assets at the outset.  These divorces were now settled in no time and the parties involved could get on with their lives.

The terms of the license was as follows:  If one of the persons involved was in their first marriage the period was 7-1/2 years in duration. All other licenses were for five years.  Renewal of your marriage license was automatically a five-year period if no termination request was received.  After the second renewal of a license at 12-1/2 years of marriage, an update to the asset list had to be submitted.

The notion of common law marriages was entirely abandoned.  Couples that lived together without a marriage license were not entitled to any assets other than their own personal ones.  This meant that if a couple were together and did not register a marriage license, and then they broke up, there was no such thing as palimony or financial compensation to either.  The thinking was that as traditional relationships were being abandoned then so should the common-law approach.  The couple was either building a life together, which in this case meant you were married, or you weren’t.  Marriage licenses were no longer seen as an emotional type of agreement but rather a legal one.  It made sense that everyone entering a relationship that would likely end.  It was better to address this scenario up front with clarity, rather than after the fact when emotional and vindictive thinking and legal posturing would be prevalent.

Not surprisingly, the termed marriage licenses caught on like wild fire and in the first year, over 15,000,000 licenses were registered on-line.  It only took about thirty minutes as long as you had your asset inventory (which was updatable as required).  There was no need to go to a church, hire a lawyer, and register at town hall or even say “I do” if you didn’t want to.  We were quite kitschy in having both parties click on an “I DO” button as a form of agreement to the terms of the license they were submitting. 

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