: 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
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
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.