>Should Marriage Licenses Expire?

Posted: October 21, 2010 in alimony, child support, divorce, judge, license, marriage, property, toler, wedding


Just about every license you get expires. Hunting, fishing, driving, etc. But, not marriage licenses. Once you apply for a marriage license and “jump the broom”, that’s it for life. Or until you divorce.

What if marriage licenses had an expiration date? Now, before you all jump down my throat, this is just a question to provoke thought. I’m not looking for an out from The Mrs. or anything. I’m just “kicking the can” on this one.

If marriage licenses expired every four years then divorce lawyers would be out of business. Judge Lynn Toler would be back to the municipal courts in Cleveland due to lack of couples signing up for her show. Husbands/wives who are unhappy don’t have to try to justify cheating. “Just three more months and I’m home-free on that expiration date!”

On the downside, Vegas would be flooded every weekend with people willing to get married since they know that they have an out. “No need to date a long time and get to know my mate. If it doesn’t work out, then we’ll go our separate ways in October of 2014.”

There would be more kids with step-parents than you could imagine. Now, that I think about it, Judge Toler would still be in business because someone has to separate all of the property/income received over the four year period.

Still, wouldn’t it be interesting to have the ability to “renew” or let your license “expire”?

Take my poll on the left and voice your opinion on “Should Marriage Licenses Expire?” or voice your opinion in our forum here!

  1. >You are starting something on this question. On a serious note marriage is forever. It is a holy union made before God that ties the souls of two individuals together. But some folks!

  2. This Daddy says:

    >No, keep the license in tact forever. Too many people quit too easy already and if you make people have to renew something, that will just make it easier for those people to quit. If anything at least re work the contract like in sports.

  3. wenstumped says:

    >No, I don't think they should expire, the chaos and havoc that would ensue would be unbelievable.

  4. sssdawna says:

    >huh. i've never thought of this.it kinda makes sense since everything else expires. but the point of marriage is that it's a lifelong commitment. so i say NO EXPIRATION! if someone wants to get out of that contract, make them go through the hell of a divorce ; )

  5. Quincy says:

    >Chaplain Donna, it should be forever and I think most people want it to be when they initially get married. However, some people don't put a lot of thought into it and it comes back to haunt them as they appear in front of Judge Lynn Toler.

  6. Quincy says:

    >Wenstumped, could you imagine the people running out and celebrating the expiration date? U-Haul would make a lot of money because people would be moving out of homes daily across the country!

  7. Adrienne says:

    >Yes, I think they should. The rate will probably increase but so could people's happiness. It's not as though everyone's in a happy marriage and this would lead to people getting divorce just because they can. Do you know how many people are stuck in unhappy marriages because of kids or lack of money for divorces?If a couple has an option to renew it could force them to evaluate their relationship and find things that need to be worked on. Just because you give people an option doesn't mean they'll take it.

  8. Quincy says:

    >This Daddy, to re-work the contract would interesting, but only if both parties have something to leverage. Maybe instead, it can be a four year deal with an option on the fifth. LOL!Or is four years not long enough. Should it be more of a commitment? Should it be situational?2 years without kids and 5 additional years for each child?

  9. Quincy says:

    >LOL @ sssdawna! If they were harder to get out of than they are right now, people would probably think harder about getting married in the first place. Maybe it's already too easy and I should have been going the opposite direction on my blog 🙂

  10. Quincy says:

    >Adrienne, I think you're on to something, but for every happy person, there could be an unhappy spouse. I'm not sure if all marriages would expire with both partners ready to go their separate ways. I think more times than not, one of them will be looking to renew the agreement.

  11. patyo says:

    I got with my husband when I was only 14. We dated for 9 years before getting married.You have to be smart about it. people want instant gratification in this throw away society. maybe make it an option when you 1st apply for a marriage licence. do you want an option out? kinda like a prenup. and if you are considering that option maybe think about whether you need to get married in the 1st place.

  12. Thank, Q says:

    @ patyo – "throw away society" is an excellent description. I think part of the problem is that people don't always think before getting married. It's not as sacred as it once was hence this particular blog post. Honestly, I think there should be a waiting period between an application for marriage and an actual official wedding. But, if no one wants to take it seriously, then the easy way out is an expiration date. Ridiculous idea, but then again, so is a 50% national divorce rate. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Neely says:

    Provocative post! I just got married, and, as a dating coach trying to help people find healthy, happy relationships, I have to say I wouldn't be in favor of this. When you marry, you are making a commitment to work through the hard stuff and, of course, enjoy the good times together (but that's the easy part). Introducing an option that gives an end date to one's union encourages couples to not work through the hard stuff, because they know they have an easy out clause.

  14. Quincy S says:

    Thanks for commenting! You're absolutely correct! It would give people even more of an out than they already have. However, with the dwindling interest in being “a good spouse,” it wouldn't surprise me if someone actually suggested it within our lifetime.

  15. This is great food for thought, if someone had to keep “renewing” their license then wouldn't that prove their real commitment? Relationships are hard enough as it is and this option perhaps proves authenticity and eliminates cheating, etc. I do think it would be used as a cop out for those who don't want to try, but, do you really want those people anyway?

  16. In theory this sounds like something I would completely support…however, in this fast food, instant gratification, and YOLO society it would further devalue matrimony. It would feed the attitude of impermanence and entitlement. If I don't get my way and we're unhappy, no need to work on it since I can opt out soon enough. Even the happiest of marriages take work and entering with a easy escape route could potentially make the work way less attractive than fighting for something you once cherished.

  17. Marrie Lobel says:

    Woops! EDIT: make fighting for something you once cherished not worth the effort!

  18. Quincy S says:

    The U.S. would be completely screwed up if marriage licenses expired. The only upside would be putting divorce attorneys out of business, I guess. LOL!

  19. Quincy S says:

    True. This country would increase in marriage as soon as this was approved. Because people wouldn't have anything to lose.

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