Divorce can be like war. Should couples be forced to sign a “divorce treaty”as a condition precedent to marriage?
After World War II, the entire world community woke up and realized that they had to find a way to reduce the devastating wars among nations. What they did was they devised the UN Charter, a treaty that most countries in the world today have signed. And one of the provisions of the charter is that it requires that before countries resort to war (or even to adjudication ) and all that gory stuff, they must attempt to NEGOTIATE a resolution to their dispute, amongst themselves, and failing that, failure to make a good faith effort to negotiate with each other, there could be consequences, including financial ones.
Got me to thinking that there needs to be something like a divorce treaty that every single marrying individual must sign before they get a marriage license. (Yes, I know that treaties apply only to “international” parties but I use it metaphorically. It’s really just a contract.) This will cut down on combative divorces, for sure. And it will save a lot of innocent children a lot of grief in the process. Not that this will be a perfect prophylactic to the problem of divorce war. Far from it. Just like countries continue to go to war in spite of the UN Charter, so too, I suspect that couples will continue to have combative divorces. But the Charter does reduce the number of disputes that end in war. And it does impose a duty on nations to try other means of settling a dispute prior to going to war. And it puts the onus on nations to be grown up about it, to sit down and discuss problems (and sometimes to even anticipate the problem before it becomes a problem) and find solutions that are fair, pragmatic and “legitimate” for the two sides of the dispute.
Why can’t this approach be used in marriage? Prior to the marriage even being formed? Parties ought to be forced to sign a covenant or treaty that basically says they will first seek to sit down and negotiate their divorce issues prior to going to litigation. As a matter of fact, I would say that all the provisions of Article 33 of the UN Charter can pretty much be utilized by marrying/divorcing couples in a pre-agreement, that in the event a divorce situation arises down the road, here is the road map of how we are going to go about the resolution of it. Here’s how the Charter reads in part:
The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
What do you think? Couldn’t states put this language in their forms for folks who request a marriage license and require folks to sign off on some similar agreement prior to issuing a marriage license? Arguably, parties should mediate and arbitrate their divorces were possible. They should use conciliation and negotiation were possible, and certainly, prior to going the litigation route.
This potentially will reduce the “divorce rate” and certainly for those marriages that end in divorce anyway, it will reduce the vitriol that is often present when emotions are running high due to a failed marriage. And it will ultimately be good for the children of divorce as well. Because some type of language regarding minor children would, or should, also be put into the treaty.
Yea. The more I think about it, the more I think states need to formulate a divorce treaty and make it a part of obtaining a marriage license.