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Pros and Cons of a Covenant Marriage

A New Trend in Marriage Reform or a Trap for Women?
The bottom part of most treaty marriage laws is that a couple cannot easily get a divorce. This means that when a couple gets their marriage certificate, they have to choose how they will end their marriage.

Stricter criteria for divorce
If a couple chooses a contract marriage option, they should seek counseling before getting married and divorcing. There would be no option for divorce without errors. However, abuse, crime, adultery, abandonment or long-term separation are accepted conditions for divorce.

Renewed Commitment
Contract marriage laws try to brake fast divorces by promoting a renewed commitment to long-term marriage.

History of Contract Marriage Laws
Although Louisiana was the first state to pass a marriage law in 1997, the idea has existed for some time.

It was discussed in France in 1947. Since 1997, many other states have considered offering this option. However, as of 2012, there are only three states with contract marriage legislation: Arizona, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Designed to Empower Families
This two-tiered marriage system was designed to empower the family. Studies show that couples with problematic marriages receiving counseling are more likely to divorce. Other statistics show a drop in divorce rates in communities that require pre-marital education.

Allegations Against Testament Marriage Vows
Some critics claim that these treaty laws are very religious by nature, creating higher wages and difficulties for those who want a divorce, and will not really lower the divorce rate. In addition, if a couple changes their mind, they can file a divorce in another state whose law does not recognize a covenant option. Others think that treaty marriage has not gone far enough and proposed stricter divorce laws.

Recognition of the Results of Commitment
Many believe that having to make such a decision before the wedding can help couples see the results of their marriage commitments.

It is seen that the consensual marriage legislation is not popular with newlyweds and may not be an expected answer to high divorce rates.

History in the USA

The first year that the law was in effect, only 1% of Louisiana newlyweds chose the covenant vows. As of 2010, the percentage is still around 1%. David White: "Of the 373,068 marriages performed in Louisiana in 2000 through 2010, statistics from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals show that 3,964, about 1 percent, were covenant marriages and the rest were" traditional "marriages." (Source: David White. "Divorce option may be harder to reach under covenant bill in Alabama Legislature." Blog.al.com. 3/19/2012.)

According to Scott D. Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, only one-fourth of one percent of couples getting married in Arizona select the covenant marriage option.

Although Arkansas has one of the nation's highest divorce rate at 6.5 per 1,000 population, the number of Arkansas couples signing up for a covenant marriage is very small. The national average for divorce in the U.S. is 4.2 per 1,000 population.

According to William Bailey, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas, there has been a decline in the number of new marriages choosing covenant marriage licenses. In the time frame from 2001 - 2004, only 400 couples opted for covenant marriage licenses. In 2002, the Dept. of Health, Vital Statistics reported 37,942 marriage licenses issued in Arkansas. Only 67 couples signed up for the covenant marriage option. 24 who were already married converted to covenant marriages.

As of May 20, 2003, out of 11,037 marriage licenses issued in Arkansas, there were only 4 new covenant marriages and 5 conversions.