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Marriage in Canada: Purposes and Legal Issues
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Marriage in Canada: Purposes and Legal Issues


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  • 1. What do sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists say?THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
  • 2. DEFINITION - MARRIAGE A relationship between two individuals based on a sexual union which is recognized as legitimate. Carries specific role expectations within a society. Based on a permanent, legal contract.
  • 3. INITIAL DIFFERENCES ... Begins with cohabitation More traditional, waiting to live together Differing values towards premarital sex/intimacy Members of the same sex or opposite sex
  • 4. THEORETICAL EXPLANATION? Despite these differences, social scientists strive to determine the common purpose of marriage. What is the function of marriage, as a relationship and institution?
  • 5. THEORIES:Social Scientist TheorySociologists Structural FunctionalismAnthropologists Systems TheoryPsychologists Social Exchange Theory
  • 6. CONSIDER What does this theory try to explain? How is society organized or “made up” according to this theory? What key terms are associated with this theory? According to this theorist, what is the purpose or function of marriage?
  • 7. SOCIOLOGYSTRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM Society organized to perform key functions effectively Organized to benefit society/maintain stability Change can happen, but it takes time, occurs slowly. Macro View = Big picture Institutions function to organize society and perpetuate norms
  • 8. FUNCTIONALIST MARRIAGE More traditional marriage reflected Roles and status are very important Marriage works to perpetuate societal norms – the couple, family, heterosexuality. Encourages reproduction
  • 9. ANTHROPOLOGYSYSTEMS THEORY How groups of individuals interact as a system Groups, subsystems influence each other in a stable way. Not chaos, but not perfect. Feedback implies give and take. All members influence each other in negative and positive ways. Feedback informs how we maintain the system. Negative feedback = discouragement Positive feedback = encouragement
  • 10. SYSTEMS MARRIAGE Negative and positive feedback from partners. Majority positive. More likely to maintain relationship/marriage. Pair-Bond allows for greater chances of survival. Pair-Bond provides a means of survival. “Two heads are better than one”.
  • 11. PSYCHOLOGYSOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY Social factors that influence how we act within relationships (reciprocal relationships) We are constrained by role expectations, but we act to maximize benefits, and minimize costs. Individuals interpret their experiences with others to weigh the benefits and costs Benefits and costs are not facts but personal perceptions.
  • 12. SOCIAL EXCHANGE MARRIAGE When considering marriage you are looking for someone who can benefit you Physical, emotional support, companionship Sharing goods and services, status or economic stability. Prosperity for the couple. Considered a “Trade off” sometimes, as you lose independence and free time. (costs)
  • 13. MARRIAGE STRUCTURES How are marriages organized? How are roles and power distributed? 4 Types  Owner- Property  Head Complement  Senior Partner – Junior Partner  Equal Partner – Equal Partner
  • 14. OWNER-PROPERTY Historically common Husband physically and legally owns wife Emotional component is unimportant Clearly outlined rights and duties for each partner.
  • 15. HEAD COMPLEMENT Wife is understood as the husband’s “other half” Husband responsible for finances (the breadwinner) and wife for the domestic Husband considers wife’s opinions in decision making as a complement. Represents a minority of Canadian families today (48%)
  • 16. SENIOR-JUNIOR PARTNER Wife is employed, more independent and contributing to family income Husband is still the primary provider $$ Wife still takes care of domestic duties, but husband helps. This is the largest category of Canadian families/marriages
  • 17. EQUAL PARTNER Partners are equally committed to work, family and household tasks The more the wife contributes to income, the more husband helps with household tasks A small but growing number of Canadian families (includes childless couples)
  • 19. ???How does Bruno Mars treat marriage? How does he define it?
  • 20. What Laws Govern Marriage?MARRIAGE AS A LEGAL CONTRACT
  • 21. MARRIAGE IN CANADA Governed at the Provincial level Municipal regulations may apply, depending on where you are getting married. Division of Vital Statistics – marriage licences, registry, certificates, Marriage Commissioners.
  • 23. 1. MARRIAGE LICENCE A Marriage licence is a form that allows you to get married, in that province, within the next 3 months. Does not mean that you are married! You can apply for one at city hall. Cost = 135$$
  • 24. 2. THE CEREMONY Will you have a religious or civil ceremony? Who will perform the ceremony?  Division of Vital Statistics has a list of those qualified. (religious and non-religious)  Marriage Commissioners Two witnesses to sign the marriage register. Civil Ceremony = 250$
  • 25. 3. SEND AWAY THE REGISTER Send to: Division of Vital Statistics  Legal record of the marriage. Vital Statistics track births, marriages, deaths, name changes in Canada.
  • 26. 4. APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE Done through Vital Statistics. Cost = 65$, or 100$ rush order! Making it official = 450$
  • 27. THE MARRIAGE ACT Provincial legislation Controls who can and cannot get married Outline the rules, commitments and restrictions Rules on: property, civil rights, separation, divorce, definition of “spouse”
  • 28. WHO CAN’T GET MARRIED? Under 18 (without parental consent) If one of the partners is involved in another relationship, marriage or unsettled divorce Mentally incapable (unable to understand the nature of marriage and obligations) Intoxicated or on drugs Until 2004, Same-Sex Couples.
  • 29. CONSANGUINITY Consanguinity – a romantic relationship between two people who are closely related to you. (by blood, half blood or adoption) Man Cannot Marry His: Woman Cannot Marry Her: Grandmother Grandfather Mother Father Daughter Son Sister Brother Granddaughter Grandson
  • 30. CHANGES TO MARRIAGE 1970s onward Egalitarian Relationships - men and women are equal partners and providers in marriage. Same rights, restrictions and obligations Women have increased rights in marriage and divorce. Same-sex couples included in the definition of marriage, “spouse”.
  • 31. COHABITATION Living together in a conjugal relationship either in or outside marriage. Today, few legal differences between married and cohabitating couples. Married couples share wide range of assets (the Matrimonial Home, property division)
  • 32. COHABITATION RIGHTS Cohabitators have the same rights as a “spouse” when ...  Continuously living together for 3 years  In a permanent relationship and are the natural/adoptive parents of a child.  Entitledto support as a “dependant”, spousal benefits (pension).
  • 33. COHABITATION IN CANADA Nearly 60% of young people will cohabit in their first conjugal relationship. Cohabition is found more acceptable as a prelude to marriage. Less acceptable if the couple do not intend to get married.