Monday, 18 March 2013

I was reading an academic paper about co-habitation law reform the other day and learned a few things:

  • Prior to a reform of the marriage laws in 1969, divorces would not be granted unless both parties agreed.
  • If the divorce resulted in one of the parties becoming a burden on the state (benefits), the divorce would not be granted.
The reform allowed divorce without mutual consent and allowed divorced people (usually the woman) to claim benefits, which resulted in an explosion in the welfare payments.

Perhaps if marriage went back to the pre-'69 laws, people would think more carefully before entering into marriage in the first place, with a concomitant reduction in benefits and fewer divorces?

The '69 reform was a classic example of rights of the individual (being able to divorce at the drop of a hat) trouncing the rights of the group (to keep taxes low) and had consequences which were probably unintended.

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