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Should marriage have an expiration date?

Last week, members of the legislature in Mexico proposed a controversial change to the Mexican civil code as it relates to marriage and divorce. Specifically, members of Mexico's left wing political party proposed that marriage licenses should be temporary, with an expiration date set at the time of issuance. This will help lower the country's divorce rate, the politicians claim, by allowing marriages to simply expire if the couple no longer wants to be together.

Under the proposed law, the minimum marriage contract would last for two years, with longer terms possible. After the set time period passes, the contract - and the marriage - will automatically expire unless spouses take action to renew the contract.

The rationale behind the proposal was, that by giving spouses an "easy out" of a marriage that is not working, they can minimize some of the emotional, logistical, and financial costs of a divorce. The contracts would include provisions specifying the handling of property, children, money, debt, and other details in the event that the couple decides not to renew after their stated time period, much like a prenuptial agreement.

Because Mexico is a traditionally Catholic country, it is unlikely that the proposed contract law will pass. However, it has spurred much discussion here in Cobb County and throughout Georgia and the U.S.

In an editorial in the Huffington Post, journalist Delia Lloyd says that the idea might not necessarily be a bad one. Although divorce rates have been dropping in recent decades, between 40 and 50 percent of couples can still expect to split at some point in their marriage. Divorces are painful and costly, especially in the current economy. So , with that thinking, Mexico's idea seems almost logical.

What do you think? Should marriage have an expiration date?

Source: Huffington Post, "Should Marriage Have A Sell-By Date?" Delia Lloyd, Oct. 4, 2011

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