Marriage and Divorce in a Multicultural Context: Multi-Tiered Marriage and the Boundaries of Civil Law and Religion

Marriage and Divorce in a Multicultural Context: Multi-Tiered Marriage and the Boundaries of Civil Law and Religion

By: Prof. Joel A. Nichols (editor)Paperback

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American family law makes two key assumptions: first, that the civil state possesses sole authority over marriage and divorce; and second, that the civil law may contain only one regulatory regime for such matters. These assumptions run counter to the multicultural and religiously plural nature of our society. This book elaborates how those assumptions are descriptively incorrect, and it begins an important conversation about whether more pluralism in family law is normatively desirable. For example, may couples rely upon religious tribunals (Jewish, Muslim, or otherwise) to decide family law disputes? May couples opt into stricter divorce rules, either through premarital contracts or 'covenant marriages'? How should the state respond? Intentionally interdisciplinary and international in scope, this volume contains contributions from fourteen leading scholars. The authors address the provocative question of whether the state must consider sharing its jurisdictional authority with other groups in family law.

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About Author

Joel A. Nichols is Associate Professor of Law at the University of St Thomas, Minnesota and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. His scholarship explores the relationship of theology and religion to law - especially family law, constitutional law and international human rights. Professor Nichols holds degrees in both law and theology.


1. Multi-tiered marriage: reconsidering the boundaries of civil law and religion Joel A. Nichols; 2. Pluralism and decentralization in marriage regulation Brian H. Bix; 3. Marriage and the law: time for a divorce? Stephen B. Presser; 4. Unofficial family law Ann Laquer Estin; 5. Covenant marriage laws: a model for compromise Katherine Shaw Spaht; 6. New York's regulation of Jewish marriage: covenant, contract, or statute? Michael J. Broyde; 7. Political liberalism, Islamic family law, and family law pluralism Mohammad H. Fadel; 8. Multi-tiered marriages in South Africa Johan D. van der Vyver; 9. Ancient and modern boundary crossings between personal laws and civil law in composite India Werner Menski; 10. The perils of privatized marriage Robin Fretwell Wilson; 11. Canadian conjugal mosaic: from multiculturalism to multi-conjugalism? Daniel Cere; 12. Marriage pluralism in the United States: on civil and religious jurisdiction and the demands of equal citizenship Linda C. McClain; 13. Faith in law? Diffusing tensions between diversity and equality Ayelet Shachar; 14. The frontiers of marital pluralism: an afterword John Witte, Jr and Joel A. Nichols.

Product Details

  • publication date: 11/07/2013
  • ISBN13: 9781107614369
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 418
  • ID: 9781107614369
  • weight: 560
  • ISBN10: 1107614368

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