Declining Marriage

The Economist carried an article recently that talked about the general decline in Marriage throughout much of East, South-East and South Asia. It was a generally pleasant read until I got right up to the end – it’s recommendations.

It made one recommendation that I felt was fair: “Governments should also legislate to get employers to offer both maternal and paternal leave, and provide or subsidise child care. If taking on such expenses helped promote family life, it might reduce the burden on the state of looking after the old.”

However, it made a real stupid recommendation that I felt would worsen the situation for marriage: “Relaxing divorce laws might, paradoxically, boost marriage. Women who now steer clear of wedlock might be more willing to tie the knot if they know it can be untied—not just because they can get out of the marriage if it doesn’t work, but also because their freedom to leave might keep their husbands on their toes. Family law should give divorced women a more generous share of the couple’s assets.

That made me go – WTF??!!

As if the women do not get more than enough. In most legal jurisdictions, unless the woman is a sex-worker, an alcoholic, or drug-addict, the woman gets custody over the children by default and the man is saddled with alimony payments and parental visits.

How the frak is such an arrangement fair?

If anything, the rise of women in the workplace has shifted the power balance in the relationship and the laws should be modified to reflect this – i.e. the laws should be made more balanced and not less so.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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