12 of the most bizarre divorce & marriage laws from around the world
We live in a world enriched with thousands of different cultures, each with its own customs and traditions, some of which are law. We thought we would give you an insight into some of the more unusual and bizarre marriage and divorce laws that exist around the world.
In Japan, women have to wait 6 months before they can remarry following a divorce, but there are no restrictions whatsoever for men.
For elders, where ancient tradition demands respect for elders, an older brother can marry his younger brother’s girlfriend – if they both agree.
2. Saudi Arabia
In the UK, there are 5 reasonable grounds for divorce, including separation, desertion and adultery. Whereas in Saudi Arabia, the list is a little longer. One of the most bizarre legal ‘grounds’ for divorce is if a husband does not give his wife fresh coffee every morning, the wife is then entitled to divorce.
The USA have a number of interesting laws when it comes to divorce.
In several states across the US you can blame a third party for the breakdown of your marriage and then sue the liable party for millions! In Colorado, men must not scowl at their wives on Sundays, otherwise they will face imprisonment.
However, Delaware probably has the most bizarre divorce law; if you get married as part of a joke or a dare, then you are granted immediate annulment. One or both parties must admit that they entered into the marriage in “jest.” Many argue that this concept is encouraging the wrong attitude towards marriage and divorce.
During World War I, France introduced law for posthumous marriages, enabling people to marry their deceased partners. Posthumous marriages originated from the 1950s, when a dam broke, killing 400 people in France, including a man named Andre Capra. His widowed fiance was allowed to marry him posthumously
5. Hong Kong
If a wife catches her husband cheating in Hong Kong, the wife is legally allowed to murder her adulterous husband. There is one condition – she must use her bare hands, no weapons.
In the UK, forgetting a birthday can be a faux pas, but it isn’t legal grounds for a divorce. However, in Samoa this is a legal ground for divorce for a wife, if her husband forgets her birthday.
This is a historical law which was overruled in 1939 by the Scottish Marriage Act – but up until this point if a man had relations with a woman, he then had to legally marry her afterwards (if the woman wanted to!)
Another historical law which was overruled in 2002 stated that Brazilian men had up to 10 days to annul their marriage. During this time, it was customary to try to identify if their wife was indeed a virgin. If she was not, the annulment could be granted.
An ancient law in Kuwait means men must be very careful when they are looking at other people. If a man is deemed to be looking ‘lustfully’ or ‘sensually’ at a female (human or more worryingly, an animal!) that is not his wife, he could face imprisonment.
Divorce is illegal in the Philippines, although this could be changing soon. This is due to the number of people in the Roman Catholic Church community. Other than Vatican City, the Philippines is the only place where divorce is outlawed. If a Filipino divorces and remarries in another country, they could be considered a bigamist.
Aboriginal law allows an aboriginal woman to end one marriage by marrying someone else. They do not need to file for divorce. By simply marrying another man, the previous marriage then becomes void.
It is almost certainly possible that other people from other cultures may find some of the UK’s laws bizarre, particularly when looking at some of the circumstances surrounding grounds for divorce. Some UK couples have, for example, filed for divorced on the basis that their wives were making tuna for dinner too often, or that husbands were insisting that the wives dress up in a Star Trek costume.
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