Mexico City is studying a plan to introduce 'temporary' marriage
licenses - letting couples choose after two years to split or renew
the license for life - in an effort to mitigate the effects of
Like so many brides before her, Luz Maria Ortiz, standing in
front of a judge at a Mexico City civil registry with her fiance,
Jorge Valero, says she is both thrilled and nervous. "Life will
change forever," she says after the ceremony.
But her wedding jitters could be a thing of the past - if
legislators get their way in Mexico City.
The left-leaning assembly is studying a new initiative to
introduce temporary marriage licenses that would expire after two
years if the couple so desires.
The proposal, intended to reduce the bureaucratic costs and
emotional toll of divorce, has garnered as many fans as foes: Some
see it as a pragmatic alternative, while others, including the Roman
Catholic Church, see it as an attack on family values. It comes as
Mexico grapples with its own culture war in the world's second-
largest Catholic country.
"The centrality of family in Mexico is changing," says Norma
Ojeda, a sociologist at the San Diego State University who has
studied the evolution of marriage in Mexico since the 1970s. "That
is something that is part of a global social change in many
To its authors, the proposal reflects social changes in Mexico
City, where they say most divorces occur in the first two years. If
after two years, couples decide to until "death do us part," they
can renew their licenses. If not, the proposal specifies how
children and property are handled.
"The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the
relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,"
Leonel Luna, the assemblyman who co-wrote the bill, told Reuters.
"You wouldn't have to go through the tortuous process of divorce."
It's a sobering sentiment upon any bride's wedding day, but many
in the Valero family, who surround the bride and groom on a bright
sunny morning in Mexico City, embrace the idea.
Luis Arturo Valero, the groom's brother and twice divorced, says
he hopes his children could be "temporarily married" as a way to
avoid his fate. "I think it's an excellent idea to go through a
trial period to really get to know one other," he says. He says
there are still taboos about living together before formalizing a
union in Mexico - the reason that such a plan is needed.
Divorce has been on the rise, especially in urban Mexico, causing
all sorts of complicated, and often painful, conflicts for families. …