• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How necessary or convenient is the legal concept of marriage today?

Extracts from this document...


Essay following family supervision one Laura Jenkins Jesus College, Part II How necessary or convenient is the legal concept of marriage today? Social and legal changes since 1857 have slowly eroded the concept that marriage is "until death us do part". Although most marriages do still end in the death of one partner, an increasing number end in divorce (this number has increased fourfold in the last thirty years1), and many people choose the relative flexibility of merely living together, a situation which would have been impossible a hundred years ago for social reasons. So, in the twenty-first century, how necessary is the concept of marriage? Could we abolish it altogether? For the reasons outlined below it is quite clear that the answer to the latter point is a resounding "no", while the answer to the former is that marriage is still the only legal institution which gives rise to a particular set of legal rights and responsibilities. The first, relatively minor, point to make is that the Church of England remains the official religion of the UK; marriage is an important part of that religion, and while the Anglican church is still the established church of the UK, marriage will remain a necessary institution. ...read more.


Again, this seems to give the legal advantage to married couples, who find the law enforces a substantial right and benefit which the merely co-habiting partner does not receive. There are also important benefits for married parents, particularly married fathers. A child born to a married couple is registered as the child of both spouses (whether the father is the real father or not), in the absence of contrary instruction (i.e. an alternative father). In contrast, unmarried fathers have no such automatic right to be registered as the parent of the baby; they have to accompany the mother to register the birth, essentially meaning both that they can be shut out of gaining parental responsibility where they wish to play a role in the child's life or can abandon the mother and child and refuse to accept their responsibility at all. Neither of these scenarios are ideal as arguments between parents can lead to one partner being shut out of the child's life, which is undesirable from the point of view of the child's welfare, or enables parents to ignore their responsibility by not, in some cases, forcing it upon them. ...read more.


At the moment, there is no clear replacement for marriage as a legal institution, therefore it is necessary to preserve and provide the benefits outlined above to people within a relationship. It is difficult to see what could replace it: a merely civil partnership would not satisfy the church, or indeed the sensibilities of many people while giving co-habiting partners all the same rights as married partners would not be desirable either, as there are people who co-habit for the relative freedom etc. that it affords them. Thus marriage remains a convenient concept until the lawmakers are able to find an alternative arrangement which fulfils the necessities of marriage in the eyes of the church and law, while balancing the delicacies of social policy at the same time. Marriage as it stands at the moment is probably therefore the best option available from all points of view, although as society continues to change, the legislative must be sure to respond to the needs of the electorate in adapting the law to protect those in co-habiting couples, whether hetro- or homo-sexual, to ensure that there does not become an underclass purely based upon a quasi-religious ceremony. 1 23 Social Trends, 2.15 (1993) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Child Development section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Child Development essays

  1. Legal & Welfare

    This includes the exploitation or corruption of children. Agencies involved with child protection: There are many agencies all over the world that help to protect children. For example the NSPCC (National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children), which was founded in 1884. There is also Child Line, which is the free helpline for children and young people in the UK.

  2. Private International Law

    This is not possible, as the US has a federal system with differing domicile depending on state. As Maria couldn't decide on what state to stay in she neither acquired residence or intent to stay in California or Florida. Therefore the only domicile left available is Germany, her domicile of origin.

  1. Explain the context, concept, lessons and recommendations from the Norsk Hydro's Utkal Venture case ...

    In the context of globalization and the challenges of sustainable development for mining companies in the developing countries, business is increasingly seen as a crucial element in the process of social transformation, for the benefit of society in general, as well as business itself.

  2. The main aim of this paper is to compare and contrast parental rights and ...

    embraces a "bundle of rights" or to be more exact a "bundle of powers," which continue until a male attains 18 or a female infant marries. These include the power to control education, the choice of religion, and the administration of the infant's property.

  1. Good Practice Within the Legislative Framework.

    The Child Protection Act of 1999 states that "there are new rights of people reporting the suspected abuse and that there is a charter of rights for child care." (The Child Protection Act 1999). When an investigation is being conducted and the investigator believes that it is important that the

  2. Why family structures are changing.

    This act provided the help need for victims it has devised a free call line that is open 24 hours a day seven days a week, continuously offering support for the victims. While it is not run for by the governments it is run by the domestic violence charities.

  1. Health and Social care

    As with all the rooms at Sandcastles all the activities are carefully planned to ensure a wide variety of experiences and inclusion for all. This ensures the children will have the opportunity to develop intellectually as well as begin to pick up new and important skills.

  2. Children and the Law.

    It must be pointed out to Ruth however that although the local authority gains parental responsibility she doesn't lose her parental responsibility and so still has a say in the children's welfare. Before the local authority applies for an emergency protection order they need to fulfil the grounds required to gain this order.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work