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A spouse is a
significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employe ...
in a
marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...

marriage
(in certain contexts, it can also apply to a
civil union A civil union (also known as a civil partnership) is a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage, created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples. Civil unions grant some or all of the rights of marriage ...
or
common-law marriage Common-law marriage, also known as non-ceremonial marriage, marriage, informal marriage, or marriage by habit and repute, is a legal framework where a couple may be considered married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or w ...
). Although a spouse is a form of
significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employe ...
, the latter term also includes non-marital partners who play a social role similar to that of a spouse, but do not have rights and duties reserved by law to a spouse. This is an incomplete translation from
French
French
époux / épouse.


Married

The legal status of a spouse, and the specific rights and obligations associated with that status, vary significantly among the jurisdictions of the world. These regulations are usually described in
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the ''law of domestic relations'') is an area of the that deals with matters and . Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * , s, and s: ** Entry into legall ...
statutes. However, in many parts of the world, where
civil marriage A civil marriage is a performed, recorded and recognised by a government official. Such a marriage may be performed by a body and recognised by the state, or it may be entirely . History Every country maintaining a of its residents keeps trac ...
is not that prevalent, there is instead customary marriage, which is usually regulated informally by the community. In many parts of the world, spousal rights and obligations are related to the payment of
bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a Bridegroom, groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared ...

bride price
,
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, prop ...
or
dower Dower is a provision accorded by law but traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support should she become widow A widow is a woman whose spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other in a marriage ...
. Historically, many societies have given sets of rights and obligations to male marital partners that have been very different from the sets of rights and obligations given to female marital partners. In particular, the control of marital property, inheritance rights, and the right to dictate the activities of children of the marriage, have typically been given to male marital partners. However, this practice was curtailed to a great deal in many countries in the twentieth century, and more modern statutes tend to define the rights and duties of a spouse without reference to gender. Among the last European countries to establish full
gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...

gender equality
in marriage were Switzerland. In 1985, a referendum guaranteed women legal equality with men within marriage. The new reforms came into force in January 1988. Greece, Spain, and France. Although married women in France obtained the right to work without their husbands' permission in 1965, and the paternal authority of a man over his family was ended in 1970 (before that parental responsibilities belonged solely to the father who made all legal decisions concerning the children), it was only in 1985 that a legal reform abolished the stipulation that the husband had the sole power to administer the children's property. in the 1980s. In various
marriage laws Marriage law refers to the legal requirements that determine the validity of a marriage, and which vary considerably among countries. See also Marriage Act. Summary table Rights and obligations A marriage, by definition, bestows r ...
around the world, however, the husband continues to have authority; for instance the Civil Code of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
states at Article 1105: "In relations between husband and wife; the position of the head of the family is the exclusive right of the husband". Depending on jurisdiction, the refusal or inability of a spouse to perform the marital obligations may constitute a
ground for divorce Grounds for divorce are regulations specifying the circumstances under which a person will be granted a divorce. Adultery is the most common grounds for divorce. However, there are countries that view male adultery differently than female adultery ...
,
legal separation Legal separation (sometimes judicial separation, separate maintenance, divorce ', or divorce from bed-and-board) is a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a separation while remaining legally married. A legal separation is grant ...
or
annulment Annulment is a legal procedure Procedural law, adjective law, in some jurisdictions referred to as remedial law, or rules of court comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil procedure, civil, lawsuit, criminal ...
. The latter two options are more prevalent in countries where the dominant religion is
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
, some of which introduced divorce only recently (i.e.
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
in 1970,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
in 1975,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
in 1977,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
in 1981,
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
in 1987,
Paraguay Paraguay (; ), officially the Republic of Paraguay ( es, República del Paraguay, links=no; gn, Tetã Paraguái, links=no), is a country in South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively sma ...

Paraguay
in 1991,''Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family Under Latin. American Dictatorships and Democracies'', by
Mala Htun Mala Htun is an American political scientist, currently a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. Htun studies comparative politics, particularly women's rights and the politics of race and ethnicity with a focus on Latin A ...
, pp 102
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conv ...

Colombia
in 1991,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
in 1996,
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
in 2004 and
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
in 2011). In recent years, many Western countries have adopted
no fault divorce No (and variant writings) may refer to one of these articles: English language * Yes and no ''Yes'' and ''no'', or word pairs with a similar word, are expressions of the affirmative and the negative, respectively, in several languages incl ...
. In some parts of the world, the formal dissolution of a marriage is complicated by the payments and goods which have been exchanged between families (this is common where marriages are arranged). This often makes it difficult to leave a marriage, especially for the woman: in some parts of Africa, once the bride price has been paid, the wife is seen as belonging to the husband and his family; and if she wants to leave, the husband may demand back the bride price that he had paid to the girl's family. The girl's family often cannot or does not want to pay it back. Regardless of legislation, personal relations between spouses may also be influenced by local
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
and
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
.


Minimum age

There is often a minimum legal
marriageable age Marriageable age (or marriage age) is the general age, as a legal age or as the minimum age subject to parental, religious or other forms of social acceptance, social approval, at which a person is legitimately allowed for marriage. Age and othe ...
. The
United Nations Population Fund The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide. Its work includes developing national healthcare strategies ...
stated the following: :"In 2010, 158 countries reported that 18 years was the minimum legal age for marriage for women without parental consent or approval by a pertinent authority. However, in 146 countries, state or customary law allows girls younger than 18 to marry with the consent of parents or other authorities; in 52 countries, girls under age 15 can marry with parental consent. In contrast, 18 is the legal age for marriage without consent among males in 180 countries. Additionally, in 105 countries, boys can marry with the consent of a parent or a pertinent authority, and in 23 countries, boys under age 15 can marry with parental consent."


Procreation

In Western countries, spouses sometimes . In some other parts of the world, there are greater expectations that heterosexual couples will procreate. In some cultures and religions, it is an obligation. In northern Ghana, for example, the payment of bride price signifies a woman's requirement to bear children, and women using birth control are at risks of threats and coercion.


Choosing a spouse

There are many ways in which a spouse is chosen, which vary across the world, and include
love marriage A love marriage is one which is driven solely by the couple, with or without consent of their parents, as opposed to arranged marriage. While there is no clear definition of love marriage; the term was in common use globally during the Victorian ...
,
arranged marriage Arranged marriage is a type of marital union where the bride and groom are primarily selected by individuals other than the couple themselves, particularly by family members such as the parents. In some cultures a professional matchmaker may be use ...
, and
forced marriage Forced marriage is a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other in a mar ...
. The latter is in some jurisdictions a
void marriage A void marriage is a marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) ...
or a
voidable marriage A voidable marriage (also called an avoidable marriage) is a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations bet ...
. Forcing someone to marry is also a criminal offense in some countries.


See also

*
Bride A bride is a woman who is about to be married Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as b ...

Bride
*
Spousal privilege In the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or insti ...
*
Work spouseHistorically, "work spouse" is a phrase, mostly in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United ...
s, a pair of co-workers sharing emotional bonds similar to those in a marriage


References


External links

* {{Portal bar, Society, Law Family