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Why get Married ? Sure it only keeps Divorce Lawyers in Business.

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English: Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Murdoch at t...

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In Ireland you must give three months’ notice in order to get married. This is a lot longer than the likes of Las Vegas, where you simply go and apply for a marriage licence which is then issued …while you wait. Unlike Las Vegas where you can obtain a divorce (or annulment as the case may be) pretty much straight away, you have to be separated four out of the previous five years in Ireland in order to obtain a Decree of Divorce. With the new Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations Act, 2010 now in place where, a dependant co-habitant who has been living with their partner for five years or, two years if they have a child together, has the right to apply to court for several reliefs, including a maintenance application against their partner should the couple break up. With couples no longer feeling the pressure of having to get married, where it is now socially acceptable for an unmarried couple to live together and to have children together, one begs the question, what is the point?

Some of the world’s most high-profile and costly divorces include Rupert Murdoch’s divorce from Anna Murdoch costing him a reported €1.7 billion. Michael Jordan’s said to be the most expensive sports celebrity divorce, cost him €150 million. Recently Tiger Woods paid his ex-wife Elin Nordegren €100 million in their divorce. He seems to have gotten off lightly, since he has an estimated net worth of $500 million as well as taking into account the circumstances surrounding the couples very public split. Most divorce cases in Ireland would not be dealing with such large amounts of money.  So many cases in this day and age, are dealing in fact with no money, or in the case of assets, negative equity. Many couples in the current economic climate instead, are fighting over who will take on the liabilities rather than fighting for the assets.

News broke this past summer of the separation of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of 27 years, Maria Shiver. Although regarded as one of Hollywood’s longest standing and solid marriages, it has not been without its speculation regarding the former Californian Governor’s alleged infidelities.  Schwarzenegger, it subsequently emerged, had fathered a child with the couple’s Nanny some fourteen years before, in or around the time that Maria gave birth to their fourth child, Christopher. This is what led to Ms Shriver filing for divorce.

Such high-profile separations should deter, you would think, the possibility of any further marriage proposals in the future, giving George Clooney as an example. On the other hand you have the likes of Paul McCartney who has just married his new wife Nancy Shevell, a New York heiress, after a four-year romance. This was McCartney’s third walk up the aisle. He married his first wife Linda in 1969 and they had stayed together until her untimely death in 1998 which was as a result of breast cancer. They are said to have had a very happy marriage. His second marriage however, to Heather Mills was a somewhat less successful union which ended in a bitter divorce in 2008. The divorce ended with Paul McCartney ordered to pay Heather Mills an estimated £23.7 million with ongoing child maintenance in the amount of $70,000 per annum being paid for the benefit of their daughter Beatrice.

In 2008 there were a record 22,243 marriages registered here in Ireland, showing an increase instead of a decrease in the number of people deciding to enter wedlock ( It should be noted that although 22,243 marriages were registered, it’s not necessarily so that 22,243 marriage ceremonies took place in 2008. ) With a recession digging deep and many young people emigrating, one must ask how the numbers getting married are still growing. Some people believe that by getting married they are making a long-term commitment. After several years in a relationship, if marriage is not proposed, then one or both parties “aren’t serious” about the relationship and are “wasting time”. In the past people have had to get married if they wished to have a child, or rushed a marriage perhaps, if a child was already on the way. Others were almost forced to marry to keep up appearances in their community or within their family or because “it was the right thing to do”.

People nowadays have a choice. With over 50% of all marriages now ending in divorce or separation, why do people still choose or believe in the institution of marriage?  Some people, young and old, are still traditional and believe that a marriage should come before choosing to conceive a child.  Some people, albeit a significant lesser sum, believe it right to be married before they decide to live together. A small number of people, a very small number I imagine, choose or deem it improper to share a bed before getting married. Nowadays, we must believe that quite a number of people get married simply because they want to. There is no longer a force or a need but simply a want. People never go into a marriage knowing or expecting that they will divorce or separate. Women are working more outside the home and the term “housewife” has in large become defunct. While I am still not convinced that marriage is a path in which I wish to travel, I must concede the fact that the institution of marriage is not dead and this, I believe, can only be a positive.

LegalEagleStar, Tuesday, 13th. December, 2011.

Written by LegalEagleStar

December 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

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