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MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. MARRIAGE, throughout the United States, is simply a civil contract, and may be entered into by any two persons, with the exceptions mentioned below:
WHAT CONSTITUTES A MARRIAGE.-The basis of a marriage is the mutual consent of the parties, followed by cohabitation. It is, therefore, complete on the declaration of the parties, in the presence of one or more witnesses, that they take each other to be man and wife, or words to that effect, and consequent cohabitation,
WHO CANNOT FORM A LEGAL MARRIAGE.-Idiots, lunatics, persons of unsound mind, persons related by consanguinity or affinity within the degrees prohibited by law, infants under the age of consent (which, in Ohio, is 18 for males and 14 for females;
in Massachusetts, 17 for males and 14 for females; and in all the rest, 14 for males and 12 for females), and persons already married and not legally divorced, are incompetent to form a valid marriage.
WHO MAY LEGALLY MARRY.–Any two persons not prevented by any of the reasons above stated.
CEREMONY.—No particular ceremony is requisite, nor is it required that the marriage should be performed by any particular person. It is, however, most usually performed by a clergyman or magistrate, and in some of the States it must be performed by them. In Connecticut it is necessary to record a notice of the intent to marry with the Town Clerk or Register of the town where the parties reside, for, at least, three weeks; in Maine the same notice must be recorded five days; and, at the expiration of that time, if no objections are made, the Town Clerk or Register gives a certificate to that effect, and a clergyman or magistrate can then marry them. In Massachusetts, the parties must previously obtain from the same officer a certificate of their respective names, occupations, ages, births and places of residence--on receipt of which any clergy man or magistrate can marry them.
VALIDITY OF A MARRIAGE. — The validity of a marriage is determined by the lex loci contractus, or the law of the place where it is contracted. If valid there, it is valid everywhere-the only exceptions being marriages forbidden by the public law country from motives of policy, such as polygamy, incest, etc.
Divorce. A divorce is the dissolution of the bond of matrimony, or the separation of husband and wife, by the judgment of a Court having jurisdiction thereof, or by an act of the Legislature. In Alabama, a decree of divorce must be sanctioned by two-thirds
of the Legislature; and in Maryland all divorces are granted by the Legislature, on the report of a judge of Court. In all the others they are made by authorized Courts.
GROUNDS OF DIVORCE IN THE DIFFERENT STATES.-Divorces are of two kinds—a vinculo matrimonii (being a dissolution of marriage tie,) and a mensa et thoro (from bed and board).
A divorce is granted in the following States, on the following grounds :
ALABAMA.–For impotency; adultery; voluntary abandonment for two years; imprisonment for two years; commission of crime against nature; habitual drunkenness of the husband; actual violence. In favor of the husband, for pregnancy of the wife at the time of marriage.
ARKANSAS.— For impotency; willful desertion; either party having a husband or wife living at time of marriage; felony oi other infamous crime; habitual drunkenness; adultery; cruel treatment.
CALIFORNIA.—For adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion for one year, conviction of felony.
CONNECTICUT.–For adultery; fraudulent contract; willful de sertion for three years; seven years' absence, not heard of; habitual intemperance; intolerable cruelty; sentence to imprisonment for life; infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty,
DELAWARE.—For cruelty; desertion for three years ; habitua) drunkenness; impotency; extreme cruelty ; felony; marriage by fraud, for want of age; willful neglect for three years. Alimony to the wife pending her petition for divorce.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.-For cruelty; willful desertion for three years; lunacy; adultery. Alimony to wife pending her petition.
FLORIDA.—For impotency; adultery; either party having hus. band or wife living at time of marriage; extreme cruelty : ungovernable temper; habitual intemperance; continued desertion for one year. Alimony allowed to wife.
GEORGIA.—For intermarriage of persons prohibited by degrees of affinity or consanguinity: mental incapacity; impotency; force in obtaining marriage; pregnancy of the wife at the time of marriage, unknown to husband; adultery; continual desertion for three years; conviction of offence and imprisonment for three years ; cruel treatment or habitual intoxication.
ILLINOIB.- For impotency; bigamy; adultery; desertion or drunkenness, for two years; attempt upon the life of either party; repeated cruelty; conviction of felony or other infamous crime. Alimony allowed to wife pending petition.
INDIANA.–For adultery; impotency; abandonment for two years; cruel and inhuman treatment; habitual drunkenness; failure of husband to make reasonable provision for his family for two years; conviction of an infamous crime.
Iowa.-For adultery; desertion for two years; conviction of felony; habitual drunkenness; inhuman treatment; impotency either party having husband or wife living at time of marriage insane or idiotic at the time of marriage.
KANSAS. -For former marriages; one year's abandonment adultery; impotency; pregnancy of wife by other than her hus. band; extreme cruelty; fraudulent contract; babitual drunkenness; gross neglect of duty; conviction of felony. Divorce is no bar to future marriage.
KENTUCKY.-For impotency or malformation as prevents sexual intercourse; living separate without cohabitation for five years ; abandonment for one year; adultery; condemnation for felony; contracting loathsome disease; force or fraud in obtaining marriage; uniting with any religious society forbidding cohabitation; confirmed habits of drunkenness one yeur; inhuman treatment for six months; pregnancy of wife by other than her husband; adultery. Either party may marry again.
LOUISIANA.–For habitual intemperance; excess; cruel treatment; adultery; infamous punishment.
MAINE.--For desertion for three years; adultery; impotency. Alimony allowed pending her application.
MARYLAND.–For canonical causes of impediment existing before marriage; adultery ; abandonment for three years; fornication by wife before marriage; vicious conduct, cruelty of treatment, abandonment and desertion. Alimony allowed when a divorce is decreed.
MASSACHUSETTS.-For adultery or impotency; uniting with any religious society that believes the relation of husband and wise unlawful; imprisonment for five years ; desertion for three years; extreme cruelty; confirmed habits of intoxication ; wanton refusal or neglect of husband to maintain wife. Alimony may be decreed to husband or wife.
MICHIGAN.—For imprisonment for three years or for life; adultery; desertion ; habitual drunkenness; extreme cruelty, and neglect to provide for his family.
MINNESOTA.—For adultery ; impotency; cruel and inhuman treatment; sentence of imprisonment; willful desertion for three years; habitual drunkenness.
MISSISSIPPI.—For adultery; impotency; sentence to the peni
tentiary; desertion for two years ; habitual drunkenness; cruel and inhuman treatment.
MissouRI.-For impotency; husband or wife living at the time of marriage; absence for one year; felony or infamous crime; habitual drunkepness for one year; cruel treatment and gross indignities; vagrancy; convicted of felony before marriage; pregnancy by other than husband.
NEBRASKA.–For adultery ; abandonment for two years; habitual drunkard; impotency; imprisonment for three years; extreme cruelty; neglect to provide for family.
NEVADA.-For impotency; adultery; desertion for two years ; conviction of felony or infamous crime; habitual drunkenness; extreme cruelty; neglect of husband to provide for family for two years.
NEW HAMPSHIRE.—For impotency; adultery; conviction of crime with imprisonment for more than one year; treatment injuring health, or reason; absence of either party for three years, babitual drunkenness for three years; joining any religious sect that believes the relation of husband and wife unlawful, and refusal to cohabit for six months; wife gone to reside out of the State two years, without his consent; the husband having left the United States intending to become a citizen of another country, and not made provision for wife's support.
NEW JERSEY.-For desertion and neglect for three years; adultery; either party having husband or wife living at time of marriage.
NEW MEXICO.-For abandonment, cruel and inhuman treatment, and adultery.
New YORK.--For want of age or physical incapacity; former husband or wife living; idiocy, lunacy, consent obtained by force or fraud ; adultery. Separations decreed for inhuman treatment, abandonment and neglect.
NORTH CAROLINA.–For adultery; impotency. Separation for abandonment; cruel or barbarous treatment; habitual drunkenDess.
OHIO.-For adultery; impotency; either party having husband or wife living; extreme cruelty; fraudulent contract; gross neglect of duty for three years; habitual drunkenness for three years; actual imprisonment in the penitentiary in any State.
OREGON.-For impotency; adultery; conviction of felony; habitual drunkenness for two years; willful desertion for three years; cruel and inhuman treatment.
PENNSYLVANIA.—For incapacity of procreation ; former marriage still subsisting; adultery; willful desertion for two years ; cruel treatment, endangering the life of the wife; incestuous marriages ; fraud, force or coercion; imprisonment for more than two years for felony.
RHODE ISLAND.—For marriage originally void, or voidable by law; conviction for murder or arson; impotency; adultery; extreme cruelty; willful desertion for five years; continual drunkenness; neglect to provide for wife; gross misbehavior repugnant to, and in violation of the marriage vow.
South CAROLINA.–For adultery; abandonment for two years.
TENNESSEE.–For impoteney; previous marriage still subsisting; adultery; descrtion for two years; conviction of any
crime wliich the law renders the party infamous; imprisonment in the penitentiary; attempting the life of the other; refusal of the wife to remove into this State; pregnancy of wife by another than the husband; habitual drunkenness.
TEXAS.-For adultery; abandonment for three years; excesses cruel treatment, or outrage towards the other,
VERMONT.-For adultery; confinement to hard labor in tho State prison for life, or for three years; absence for seven years, and not heard from, or desertion for three years ; neglect to provide for the support of the wife.
VIRGINIA. -For adultery; impotency; confinement in the penitentiary; convicted of an infamous crime; fugitive from justice, and has been absent for two years; abandonment for five years; the wife enciente by auother than the husband; notoriously a prostitute; cruelty.
WEST VIRGINIA.—For adultery; impotency; willful abandonment for three years ; confinement in the penitentiary prior to marriage without the knowledge of the other; the wife enciente by another than the husband, without his knowledge; notori ously a prostitute; marriage of a white and colored person; in sanity; the male under fourteen, and the female under twelve.
WISCONSIN.-For adultery; impotency; after sentence to three years, or more imprisonment; willful desertion for one year; cruel and inhuman treatment, and for wife's being given to intoxication; habitual drunkard for one year; entire separation for five years voluntarily.
In a divorce on the ground of adultery, the guilty party cannot marry again during the life of the other; but the innocent party is free to marry again at any time.
Custody of Children. The custody of the children of a marriage, during the pend. ing of a proceeding for divorce, and subsequently, will be granted