: Japanese Fairy Tales

Justice is administered in Denmark in the first instance by the judges of

the hundreds in the rural communities and by the city magistrates in the

urban districts. Appeals from such courts lie to the superior courts of

Copenhagen and Viborg, and in the last resort to the Supreme Court, which

consists of a bench of twenty-four judges, at Copenhagen.

Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe in which the governme

established any regulation or control over matrimonial affairs.

The body of the law on marriage and divorce is found to-day in the Code of

Christian the Fifth (1683), as modified and modernized, and such customs

and precedents of the Danish people as the courts accept as binding.

BETROTHAL.--A betrothal or engagement to marry carries with it no legal

obligation. The courts of Denmark do not recognize the breach of a promise

to marry as constituting a legal cause of action.

If, however, a woman, on promise of marriage, permits sexual intercourse,

she can sue to have the marriage specifically performed, provided the man

is at least 25 years of age and the woman herself is of good reputation

and neither a widow nor a domestic servant who has become pregnant by her

employer or one of his relatives. In addition, the betrothal must either

have been public or capable of easy proof.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR MARRIAGE.--A male cannot legally conclude marriage

before the completion of his twentieth year. A female must have completed

her sixteenth year. The King may grant a dispensation permitting parties

of less age to marry.

Males and females are minors until the completion of their twenty-fifth

year, and during minority cannot conclude marriage without the consent of

their parents or guardians. If the necessary consent is withheld without

just cause the authorities can furnish the desired permission.

IMPEDIMENTS.--Marriage is prohibited between relatives in the direct line,

whether by blood or marriage, and between brothers and sisters of the

whole or half blood.

The royal dispensation is required for marriage between a man and his

brother's widow, his aunt, great-aunt or any feminine relative nearer of

kin to the common ancestor than the man himself.

Persons convicted of having committed adultery with each other may not

marry without having first obtained permission of the civil authorities.

Persons divorced by extra-judicial decree are not allowed to contract a

new marriage, without permission to this effect is given in the decree.

The law prescribes a mourning period of one year for a widow and three

months for a widower, during which time they are not allowed to contract a

new marriage; but under special conditions the mourning period may be


PRELIMINARY FORMALITIES.--If the marriage is solemnized before a clergyman

banns must be published from the pulpit for three consecutive Sundays, and

the marriage must follow within three months. In case of a civil marriage

one publication must be made by the authorities at least three weeks and

not more than three months before the celebration.

CELEBRATION.--The national church of Denmark is the Lutheran, and in the

case of Protestant Christians a religious marriage must be solemnized

before a clergyman of the Lutheran Church.

Civil marriages performed at the courthouse by a magistrate are permitted

when the bride and groom are of different religious faith or when neither

of them belong to any recognized religious sect.

ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN.--Subsequent marriage of the parents legitimatizes a

child born out of wedlock.

ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--A marriage may be annulled at the instance of one

of the parties for the following causes:

1. Want of free consent by one or both parties.

2. If one of the parties at the time of the marriage was impotent and this

fact was unknown to the other. This impotence must, however, be incurable

and continue for three years.

3. If one of the parties was at the time of the marriage afflicted with

leprosy, syphilis, epilepsy or a contagious and loathsome disease, and

this fact was concealed and unknown to the other party. The disease must

be incurable.

DIVORCE.--An absolute divorce upon proper grounds may be obtained by means

of a judicial decree, royal authorization given to the higher civil

authorities, authorization from the Minister of Justice, or a special

royal decree.

The causes for an absolute divorce are:

1. The last two causes mentioned above as sufficient for an annulment.

2. Adultery.

3. Bigamy.

4. Wilful abandonment.

5. Absence for five years or more under circumstances leading a reasonable

person to conclude that the absentee is dead. Exile or deportation from

the country for at least seven years.

6. Imprisonment for life, if pardon or liberty is not given within seven


EXTRA-JUDICIAL DIVORCE.--The Mayor of Copenhagen and the superior

magistrate outside of Copenhagen--called the higher civil authorities--may

give a royal authorization for a divorce in cases where the parties have

lived apart for three years in consequence of a separation decree, and

both parties ask for divorcement.

The Minister of Justice has also authority in some instances to grant

decrees of absolute divorce.

The conditions under which a divorce can be granted by special royal

decree are not specifically defined, but the decree is seldom granted

except for substantial reasons and according to precedent.

SEPARATION.--Decrees of separation from bed and board may be obtained upon

mutual consent of the parties or if good reason exists upon the petition

of one of the parties.

EFFECTS OF DIVORCE.--Usually in the absence of an agreement between the

parties each party receives one-half of the property which during the

marriage relation was held in common.

The duty of mutual support and assistance ends, but sometimes the man is

directed to pay alimony to the woman.

The innocent party is generally given custody and control of the children

of the marriage, but the courts favour an agreement between the parties on

this subject.

Unless the decree of divorce has been brought about by her guilt a

divorced wife is permitted to retain the name and rank of her divorced