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Old 11-10-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
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Default (02) Marriage / Divorce / Dowries / Bridegifts

MARRIAGE
Among the peasants, marriage is usually voluntary or perhaps arranged between neighboring families, and takes place generally when the bride is in her late teens up to mid-twenties.

Upper class families- wealthier merchants and the nobility - use marriage as a means to create alliances and as a show of status, rank, or favor; thus these arrangements are primarily political in nature. A child can be betrothed at birth and a wedding may take place at any point after that, though actual consummation of the relationship will not happen until the bride is sixteen or older (behaving otherwise will open the path to a dissolution of the marriage and loss of status for the husband).

This manner of doing things has facilitated from Asseryan times, the use of 'marriage by proxy' so that once a marriage agreement is reached by the families, a couple may have two separate ceremonies, with a stand-in groom or bride, and will be wed without ever having met. In the case of youthful marriages, they may be wed in the eyes of the court and faith for years before they ever meet in person. The faith has attempted at various times to discourage the practice, but it persists if only for its greater degree of convenience among the nobles.

However, many noble families can and do wait until their children are of age before wedding them off- though they may be continuously negotiating and entering into or breaking off betrothals up until that time, so a noble boy or girl may have had multiple betrothals before they're actually of age (they may even have had the luxury of meeting one or more of their almost-spouses).


MARRIED NAMES
A noblewoman in Edolon who marries a lord may thereafter give up her family’s name in favor of that of her husband, but it is not actually required. No matter what she does, she’s more or less property of the husband’s family legally but she can at least keep her own name. In some cases this is even encouraged because of who the bride’s family is- if they are of equal or greater standing than her husband’s it may profit all the family to keep her name as a reminder of the alliance. Some ladies may sign important papers Lady Firstname Marriedname but in daily life be called Lady Firstname Maidenname (remember, we don’t have a social security administration or federally-issued IDs here). Similarly if a daughter of the king weds, she keeps her title of Princess and usually the name of Vellfyre- and the husband’s family may have a lot less say in general about her daily affairs.
((Ex: Have you ever heard 'Cersei Baratheon'? How about 'Eleanor Plantagenet'? Nope, didn’t think so.))

Peasants don’t have much in the way of last names anyway- their bynames are usually more about location or their trade, so a peasant girl may wed and slowly be called Girlname Husbandswife or Girlname LocationofHusbandsHut.

The merchants try to emulate the nobility more, and may have their own last names, but merchant daughters will almost always take their husband’s last name (unless the girl is Trimerid and then will certainly retain her own name).


DIVORCE
As politics can make a noble marriage, so too it can break one. Acquiring a divorce requires the consent of the patriarchs of both households involved and a contribution of some sort (preferably monetary but anything of value will work) to the local church to procure the gods' blessings as well. If one patriarch refuses his consent, the other can appeal to their liege lord or the king to force the issue. Note: the consent of the actual married couple is NOT required for a marriage to be dissolved, unless the husband is the head of his family.

Last edited by The Oracles; 11-10-2012 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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DOWRIES
The bride's family provides an amount of money or goods at the time of marriage. During the lifetime of her husband the dowry is his property, but at his death it will be considered property of the widow to provide for her until she finds a new husband. Only the woman's own children may inherit her dowry. Often, if a daughter has received a dowry from her father she will not inherit any further property or wealth from his estate when he dies.

If during the husband's lifetime his wife dies without sons to inherit her dowry, he must refund it to her family, minus the bridegift he had given to her.

A widow may have to relinquish her original dowry if she takes a new husband. It is up to her family whether the same dowry will be granted for that second marriage or a different one will be offered. Oftentimes, noble families will agree to wed a woman off to her deceased husband’s kinsman to keep an alliance in place, and the dowry will simply be transferred to the next husband so long as she marries into the same family again.

The lack of a dowry may result in a girl's being considered unmarriageable and most such young ladies will usually find themselves joining The Faith if no benefactor will give them a dowry for marriage.

If a woman is accused of adultery and found guilty by The Faith, the husband may divorce her and half of her dowry will remain property of him or his family.

The actual content of a dowry depends upon the status and wealth of her family: clothing, linen and bedding are commonly included even among those of the great families, and perhaps some articles of furniture. Money may also be a part, or it may make up the bulk of the dowry. The daughters of House Vellfyre may be granted the revenue from taxes on certain towns or estates as part of their dowries.

Among peasant families, the dowry often consists of a few head of livestock or only small tokens.


BRIDEGIFTS
When a man takes a wife, he will give her a gift of money that will be hers alone. If he seeks to dissolve the marriage she must depart the household with that money- except in cases where the wife has been found guilty of adultery. This also ensures that should a husband forget to provide for her in his will (or has gambled off her dowry), the widow will not be destitute. However, the Bridegift is almost always much smaller than the dowry.
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