These remarks were inspired by the question of how, if at all, a “legit” marriage is better than a common law one. One visitor at my website asked me: “Karina, why don’t you write about the [negative] legal implications of a common law marriage? Especially after a kid is born… It’s a really important subject to talk about. Write about it.” I guess my response is somewhat different from the purport of the question, but here it is.
First off, thanks for your interest in the subject. I took some time to ponder your question, and I felt like writing an article about it, but a different one, like this one: “Girls, Don’t Ever Marry!”
It is a sad fact that, in the world today, an official marriage does not always mean happiness or even satisfaction. As a lawyer who has to deal with different people with different life stories on a daily basis - people from all over the world - I can testify that marriage is nothing but a headache for too many people, women especially. Even more so after a child is born.
Poor girls! The tricks they have to come up with just to charm and hopefully seduce the man they fancy! But then they have to ensnare the guy and lure him into wedlock, making sure the guy doesn’t run. Then it’s up to them to make a cozy, comfortable home for him. Then comes the baby. They are a real family now, and they could be happy…
But what is happening to our men? Why do they fail so consistently to display their best qualities? Why do they lose their aspiration to make a better life for their family? How come everything – the house, the kids, the shopping – is on the woman’s frail shoulders? And she has to go to work, too…
Have you seen many men with a baby carriage as well as their cell phone and lap-top, or running home from the store with a bag full of groceries to make something special for dinner? I bet you have not. Men who work, bring their paychecks home, don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke are extinct, and if you’re fortunate enough to get one, you should consider yourself the luckiest girl in the world.
On the other hand, girls who have jobs (or, more frequently, their own business), bring the money home, don’t drink or smoke, and take care of the home and the kid are not a fantasy; they are a widespread reality. A strong woman like that is not a rarity anymore.
One great writer said that all happy families are happy the same way, but all unhappy families are unhappy in different ways. Well, that is no longer the case. Nowadays, all unhappy families are unhappy the same way, too.
I receive tons of letters every day from all over the world, from women who face domestic violence on a daily basis.
What is domestic violence or abuse? The victims of domestic abuse are usually women and children. Many men, who are physically stronger, when they feel frustrated or fail at business or at work, tend to take it out on their families, and this often ends in a tragedy.
There is no legal definition for “abuse” in Russia. I’m sure there’s one in the pipeline but in the meantime, the phenomenon itself is very much in existence. There are many centers that offer women and children protection from domestic abuse, and help them deal with it. If there has been a case of domestic abuse in your family, don’t expect the problem to simply go away. Don’t delude yourself that a man who has raised his hand to his wife and kid once will never do it again; do not kid yourself that “love” will prevail over violence. It will not. The only solution is to leave him, divorce him.
Don’t be afraid of divorce. A divorce spells the beginning of a new life - the life of an independent, self-sufficient woman. All the seeming difficulties can be overcome. There’s only one thing you will never forgive yourself for doing, and that’s taking abuse and humiliation from your husband or partner. Do not try to live with it; do not condone it; seek help immediately. The courts, the lawyers and the counselors are there to help you.