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marriage as legal contract


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Adar 28, 5777
Hello, The judicial systems of different countries regulate marriage differently. Some countries do not allow prenuptial agreements. Some have no fault divorce policy. If a person is married under such laws how can that marriage be really legal when in reality it is so loose almost as a premarital relationship? For example, with the “no fault divorce” policy, a husband/wife can simply change their mind and want a divorce with no real reason or can simply not try hard enough to resolve certain situation that led to a conflict. The person who took marriage more seriously than the other party, will then suffer losses and nothing can truly compensate for this. These can be lost financial opportunities because of compromising, stress causing health issues, etc…The biggest loss is loosing time and a prospect of building a married life with a serious individual because divorcees later are stigmatized and can’t find that easily someone new. Even if a prenuptial agreement would involve payment of a lot of money as penalty for divorce, this can be easily paid by someone rich but doesn’t really compensate the loss of youth and purity before marriage that the other party will loose. If marriage is entered so easily with a hidden agenda to divorce without really trying to resolve issues or perform the functions of spouse, then isn’t this a fraudulent contract? So should one marry under such loose laws? Should one only count on social exclusions of divorcees, that this will give marriage a serious tone? How to distinguish marriage from illegal relationship when the laws of the countries are so relaxed?
You are correct, and that is why Jewish marriage is significantly more serious than many civil laws, obligating both sides to invest the time and effort necessary to really try and make it work. Even when there is a prenuptial agreement, it is done in a way which is very serious and not a light matter for both sides.
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