Leftist legislators in Mexico City recently proposed a law that would allow newlyweds to obtain temporary marriage licenses, according to yahoo news. The proposal was made in response to statistics that indicate that 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce in their first 2 years in Mexico City. These lawmakers believe that the marriage licenses would give parting couples an easier exit strategy and provide for a more amicable divorce.

These licenses, or marriage contracts, would be for a minimum two-year period and could be renewed if the couple wished to stay married after the two-year period.  Additionally, the contracts would include provisions on property division and child custody in case the couple splits.

Accordingly, if the couple does not get along after the contractual period lapses the marriage will automatically terminate.

Proponents agree that this law would help increase judicial efficiency by keeping a multitude of divorce proceedings out of court. However, it seems that basing marriage completely on freedom of contract may just result in a different type of contractually based divorce proceeding.

Church Backlash

The Catholic Church opposes the idea. In fact, a spokesman for the archdiocese stated that the contracts  "contradict the nature of marriage" and that the idea is "immoral and irresponsible."

The Catholic Church holds considerable power in Mexico as it has the world's second biggest membership behind Brazil.

Chances Of Passing?

I believe that this proposal could be successful for a couple of reasons.

First, by making couples decide to divide their property as well as which partner would take the couple's  children upon divorce it gives these couples another reason to second guess getting married.

Additionally, the proposed law does not require everyone to enter into these contracts. It provides that couples may obtain a minimum 2 year temporary marriage license. By making the temporary licenses optional religious people can still get married for life. Meanwhile, others who don't view marriage as a sacred covenant could obtain these licenses in hopes of reducing the chances of a messy divorce.

I believe that this marriage contract law proposal has all the best of intentions. However, I can never see it getting passed, especially considering the extent of Catholic support in Mexico City. Additionally,  historically marriage law has not changed very much and people do not like to change longstanding rules. Yet, Mexico City has one thing going for them as they had recently passed a law legalizing gay marriage. So maybe there is a chance.

What do you think?