Abandon the institution of marriage entirely. Nuke it from orbit, as it were. It's the only way to be sure.
The legal end of it is a mere wealth-redistribution mechanism. The social end of it is made of community who loves to witness people getting into marriages, but they scatter during the demise. So what function does it perform? From my perspective, it only serves to weaken commitment by trying to offload the responsibility of staying together to a legal framework.
Can anybody make a good case for continuing the charade?
Many marriages are entered into by two parties with the agreement that one party will be the primary caretaker of the children (home-maker), which is a profession that is unpaid. The other party will work outside the home and provide money for the family. In that case, the years of work that the home-maker has put in should be recognized as valid work, and in the event of a break-up of the marriage, the home-maker should continue to receive monetary support from the other party, as they (often) have no viable other professional skills. This needs to be enforceable in court in the interest of people whose profession is home-maker.
This is also why gay marriage (and gay divorce) should be legally codified like straight marriage is. People need legal recourse to persist their own standards of living.
If someone entering into a marriage does not want to take on the lifetime of responsibility of providing for the person who is promising to take on the role of home-maker in their household, perhaps they shouldn't enter into a marriage.
The question (probably similar to patents,) is: How can we protect the spirit of why this law is in place (to recognize the contribution of those who may not be directly compensated and give them their appropriate share), without letting people completely exploit and abuse it.
Looked at it that way, its an extremely hard problem with a myriad of economic and social issues along with a bunch of vested interests. Sigh...
That's a valid point, but do we need a one-size-fits-all approach, i.e. all marriages are the same contract? Arguably, we do not, so why not just let the parties directly involved decide what terms to have for their own marriage contracts (which might include inter alia some provision for cheap arbitration rather than expensive predatory lawyers if things break down).
I'm not worried about the external social part of it, but the personal part of it is that many people (including myself) enjoyed both getting and being married. Obviously, YMMV.
I guess that marriage has some "legal framework" but I've never even thought of it in that way. To me it is a personal declaration of two-way commitment, made in front of friends and family, and it's worth as much, and as little, as how you live by it. Same as any commitment, I guess.
I like being married. It's not a charade to me. If you don't like me being married, because you don't like divorce lawyers, so be it.
Most people think that, after they've been living with their partner for a couple of years, they become 'common law husband and wife' with the same rights as married couples. This is not the case. In fact, couples who live together have hardly any of the same rights as married couples or civil partners.
There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’.
British law vs say Roman law.
Because of the widespread nature of the British empire remnants of these laws (and remnants of the Empire, such as the Queen being formally the supreme being in Canada) are still found all over the world, even if a lot of those laws have been abolished in the UK itself.
I think you mean English common law. There's not such thing as "British law" as such, because Scotland has its own legal system (which incidently is partly based on Roman law).
So maybe they're not that crazy :)