Mexico City considers 2-year marriage licence

Lawmakers in Mexico City are proposing a new marriage licence that would allow couples to split after a two-year trial rather than go through the divorce process.
Mexican newlyweds pose on Valentine's Day in 2008. If a proposed law passes in Mexico City, couples could opt for a two-year marriage license, test out married life, and then renew their licenses if they are still happy. (David Maung/Associated Press)

Lawmakers in Mexico City are proposing a new marriage licence that would allow couples to split after a two-year trial rather than go through the lengthier divorce process.

Instead of the traditional 'till death to us part,' couples would be able to opt for temporary commitments, test out married life, and then renew their licenses indefinitely if they are still devoted to their chosen spouse.

The proposed law would not help those with morning-after regrets. Couples who want to dissolve the marriage before two years would have to go through regular divorce proceedings.

"Two years is the minimum amount of time it takes to know and appreciate what life is like as a couple," Lizbeth Rosas, who is spearheading the proposed legislation on behalf of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, said to BBC Mundo in Spanish.

"If you renew, that means you have an understanding with your partner, and that you are clear on the rules of the relationship."


Should marriage have to be for life? Have your say.

If the marriage is unhappy or unstable, the contract — which would include clauses on custody rights and the division of property — could be dissolved without what proponents refer to as cumbersome paperwork that hurts families.

Legislation encourages disposable culture: critic

The proposal has sparked a furor among conservative politicians in Mexico city, who previously failed to prevent gay and lesbian couples from obtaining marriage licenses.

Defenders of traditional marriage are now decrying the idea of "renewable" vows, or what some Spanish media outlets called expiry-date marriages.

"At first I thought it was a hoax," Consuelo Mendoza, of the national union of parents, said to BBC Mundo in Spanish. "These initiatives create a culture of disposability within important societal issues."

Religious leaders are also speaking out against the proposed change.

"This reform is absurd. It contradicts the nature of marriage," said Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Mexican archdiocese, who was quoted in Spanish across various media.

"It's another one of these electoral theatrics the assembly tends to do that are irresponsible and immoral."