: Japanese Fairy Tales

Servia is a kingdom in the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula. In

1882 it became a constitutional monarchy. The judiciary is vested in a

High Court of Appeal, a Court of Cassation, a Commercial Court and

twenty-three courts of the first instance.

The Servian laws of marriage and divorce are substantially the same as

those of the Orthodox Greek Church. All marital suits in which one or both

elong to this church are governed by State law, although

jurisdiction lies with the ecclesiastical courts. Matters pertaining to

property settlement are, however, entirely within the jurisdiction of the

civil courts, as are all marital suits in which neither party belongs to

the Greek Church.

When the parties to a marital suit are Roman Catholics decisions are

rendered according to the canon law; and when both parties are

Protestants, according to the principles of the sect to which the parties


In the case of a mixed marriage of others than adherents of the Greek

Church the decision is rendered according to the principles of the church

in which the marriage was celebrated.

MARRIAGE QUALIFICATIONS.--A man cannot marry until he has completed his

seventeenth year; a woman until she has completed her fifteenth year of

age. By the dispensation of the church, granted by a bishop, a man of

fifteen years or a woman of thirteen years may conclude marriage.

The free consent of both parties is essential to a valid marriage.

If both the contracting parties are over eighteen years of age parental

consent to a marriage is not obligatory. Where both parties are under

eighteen years, or the intended bride is under that age and the intended

bridegroom is under twenty-one years, the consent of parents is necessary.

All persons are forbidden to contract a new marriage until a previous

existing marriage has been dissolved or judicially declared a nullity.

CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriage is prohibited between relatives by

blood in the direct line and in the collateral line as far as the eighth

degree, inclusive--that is to say, as far as the degree of relationship of

third cousins. Relatives in the seventh or eighth degree may marry by

episcopal dispensation. Marriage is prohibited between relatives by

marriage as far as the fifth degree, inclusive.

Marriage is prohibited between persons spiritually related, as between the

godparent and the godchild or his descendants.

IMPEDIMENTS.--Persons who have been judicially condemned for adultery are

forbidden to contract marriage with their accomplices in the offence.

The party declared guilty in a suit for divorce is prohibited from

marrying again during the lifetime of the innocent party.

A woman may not, as a rule, marry again until nine months after the

dissolution by death or divorce of her previous marriage.

Insane persons cannot contract a binding marriage.

Incurable impotence of either party, which existed at the time the

marriage was concluded, is cause for a decree of nullity.

Marriage is expressly forbidden between Christians and Jews or between

Christians and non-Christians of any sect whatever.

Marriage is prohibited between two persons one of whom has attempted the

life of the husband or wife of the other.

A lawful marriage cannot be concluded with a woman who has been abducted

and has not yet been restored to freedom.

Marriage cannot be concluded by a person who is under sentence to


PRELIMINARIES.--Before the marriage the parish priest must, on three

successive holy days, publish banns in the church, and if any member of

the parish knows of any impediment it is his or her duty to inform the

priest. If a priest fails thus to publish banns, and impediments later

appear, he is amenable to punishment.

CELEBRATION.--The law of Servia does not recognize a civil marriage. If

the parties, or one of them, belong to the Orthodox Greek Church they must

be married according to the rites of that church. Christians of other

sects must be married by their clergy and Jews by their authorized


CHILDREN.--Marriage of the parents subsequent to their birth renders

illegitimate children fully legitimate.

ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--A marriage may be declared null by a decree of a

court of competent jurisdiction whenever it appears that some essential

qualification to make the marriage valid was absent at the time it was

concluded, or if it appears that the marriage was concluded in disregard

of the impediments stated by law.

ABSOLUTE DIVORCE.--A complete divorce from the marriage bond is allowed by

the courts for the following causes:

1. Adultery of either party.

2. Attempt by either spouse to kill the other.

3. The concealment by one spouse of information concerning a plot to kill

the other spouse.

4. Penal servitude incurred by either spouse, under a sentence of at least

eight years.

5. Apostasy from the Christian religion.

6. Deliberate desertion persisted in for three years.

7. Flight from Servia followed by absence of at least four years.

8. Absence without news for six years.

A decree of divorce or a decree annulling a marriage must always be

submitted for the approval or disapproval of the ecclesiastical courts.

EFFECTS OF DIVORCEMENT.--The innocent party to a divorce suit may contract

a new marriage, but the guilty party is forbidden to remarry during the

lifetime of the innocent party.

Usually each party regains such goods and effects as he or she brought to

the alliance.

CUSTODY OF CHILDREN.--Boys under four years and girls under seven are

given, as a rule, to the mother's custody. After that they are given to

the custody of the father.

The divorced woman must not continue to use the surname of her ex-husband.

JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--A separation from bed and board may be granted by

the court whenever the facts show such a decree to best promote the

interests and well-being of the spouses.