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|Entering into marriage|
|Prenuptial agreement |
|Legal states similar |
|Cohabitation · Civil union |
|Dissolution of marriage|
|Annulment · Divorce · Legal separation |
|Issues affecting children|
|Adoption · Child abduction · Child abuse |
Child custody · Child marriage
Child Protective Services (United States)
Child support · Contact (including visitation)
Emancipation of minors
Foster care · Grandparent visitation
Legal guardian · Legitimacy
Parental responsibility · Parenting coordinator
Parenting plan · Paternity
Residence in English family law · Ward
|Conflict of laws|
|Divorce · Marriage · Nullity |
International child abduction
|Adultery · Bigamy |
Domestic violence · Incest
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.
People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. In some societies these obligations also extend to certain family members of the married persons. Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment.
Marriage is usually recognized by the state, a religious authority, or both. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution irrespective of religious affiliation, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction.
|“||Marriage is the union of two different surnames, in friendship and in love, in order to continue the posterity of the former sages, and to furnish those who shall preside at the sacrifices to heaven and earth, at those in the ancestral temple, and at those at the altars to the spirits of the land and grain.||”|
Anthropologists have proposed several competing definitions of marriage so as to encompass the wide variety of marital practices observed across cultures. In his book The History of Human Marriage (1921), Edvard Westermarck defined marriage as "a more or less durable connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring." In The Future of Marriage in Western Civilization (1936), he rejected his earlier definition, instead provisionally defining marriage as "a relation of one or more men to one or more women that is recognised by custom or law".The anthropological handbook Notes and Queries (1951) defined marriage as "a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners." In recognition of a practice by the Nuer of Sudan allowing women to act as a husband in certain circumstances, Kathleen Gough suggested
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