Should marriages have sunset clauses?


Thank God for marriage. Thank God for nuclear families. The last thing we need is one more to undermine the sanctity of marriage and family. The reason is obvious:

Some people may make a mess of their marriages, but that’s not the fault of marriage. What do I mean?

Some people suggest that we should have sunset clauses on marriages to help reduce the number of divorces and the costs and other difficulties associated with divorce actions in court. That’s ridiculous. The key to reducing divorces is not to eliminate marriage. We don’t outlaw alcohol to prevent drunk driving. Food is not outlawed to prevent obesity. Debt is was not made illegal to prevent bankruptcy. The point here is that the destructively high rate of divorce, and drunk driving, and bankruptcy is a crisis of character.

Do not misunderstand me. Some people drive drunk innocently, having no idea they are impaired and having no desire to drive while impaired. Others have no intention of incurring crushing that they can’t possibly pay. Not everyone who eats food is obese.

Likewise (and thankfully), most people marry with the intention of staying married. Just because some of these people’s marriages end in divorce through no fault of their own (such as through adultery or domestic violence or mental illness) does not mean that we should do away with marriage and thus do away with divorce in the process.

Far too many people are marrying carelessly and divorcing carelessly. Do you really think divorce is the solution to their “marital” problems? People who marry carelessly, who married for selfish purposes, and who failed to give their marriages the attention and to make the personal sacrifices a successful marriage needs aren’t going to be helped by divorce. They’ll still be the same careless and irresponsible people, just not married anymore. Their carelessness and irresponsibility will take its toll in other ways and on other people.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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