: Japanese Fairy Tales

MARRIAGE.--Swedish law recognizes marriages which are to take effect in

the future (sponsalia de futuro), and the existence of a betrothal that

has been entered into in the presence of four witnesses and the woman's

marriage guardian carries with it the obligation of a final fulfilment of

the marriage promise, which under certain conditions is subject to

enforcement by law. Thus, on the refusal of one of the affianced parties

to proceed to the promised marriage, they can be proclaimed man and wife

by judgment of the court, and the complainant has then the rights of a

legally wedded person. This method of procedure is resorted to

particularly if cohabitation has taken place subsequent to the betrothal,

but in the absence of such cohabitation various causes can render the

promise of marriage invalid. Diseases of a contagious or of an incurable

nature, whether contracted before or after the marriage promise was given,

insanity, ungovernable temper, licentiousness or other vices, and serious

defects are sufficient impediments to the compulsory marriage of betrothed


A person who, under false pretenses, entices another to promise marriage,

cannot demand the fulfilment of the promise and is even liable to


A betrothal entered into through force or fear, or during a state of

intoxication or temporary insanity, is not valid.


1. Lack of free consent.

2. Epilepsy. Sufferers from epilepsy (epilepsia idiopathica) are barred

from marrying.

3. A heathen or a person who does not belong to any recognized religious

creed cannot contract a lawful marriage.

4. Non-age. Marriage can be lawfully entered into by males 21 years of age

and over and by females 17 years of age and over. A male Laplander,

however, may marry when 17 years of age and a female when 15 years of age.

A dispensation may be granted from the impediment of non-age, but such

dispensation is not granted a male unless his marriage is approved by his

parents or guardians and unless he is a person of good reputation and able

to support a wife.

CONSENT OF PARENTS.--A male requires the consent of no third party. Any

female under 21 years of age requires the consent of her marriage


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

blood in the direct line or between two relatives by blood in the

collateral line, one or both of whom are descended in the first degree

from the common ancestor.

Marriage is also prohibited between relatives by affinity in the direct


In all cases relationship by illegitimate as well as legitimate birth is


A divorced person who has been adjudged guilty of adultery cannot contract

a new marriage without the consent of the innocent party, provided the

latter is still living and has not remarried. Under no conditions can the

guilty party marry his or her accomplice.

No man or woman who is bound by a betrothal or by an undissolved marriage

can marry a third person.

A widower must not contract a new marriage within six months after the

death of his wife, nor a widow within one year after the death of her


PRELIMINARIES.--On three successive Sundays or holy days previous to a

wedding banns must be published from the pulpit of the State church in the

parish in which the prospective bride resides.

CELEBRATION.--The usual form of marriage is the religious ceremony. This

alone is valid in case the man and woman belong to the same religious

sect. An adherent of the State church who has never been baptized or who

has never been prepared for the rite of the Lord's Supper has recourse

only to a civil marriage. This is also the case in a marriage between a

Christian and a Jew and in a marriage between parties who belong to a

Christian church the clergy of which have not been granted the right to

perform marriages.

DIVORCE AND JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--Grounds for Judicial Divorce. An

absolute divorce can be granted by court on the following grounds:

1. Adultery.

2. Illicit intercourse with a third party after betrothal.

3. Malicious desertion for at least one year, provided the absentee has

left the Kingdom.

4. Absence without news for six years.

5. An attack on the life.

6. Life imprisonment.

7. Insanity of at least three years' duration and pronounced incurable by


ROYAL PREROGATIVE.--All the grounds for divorce by royal prerogative are

not definitely determined. The following alone are specifically mentioned

in the law:

1. Judicial condemnation to death or to civil death, even if a royal

pardon is granted.

2. Judicial condemnation for a gross offence or an offence incurring

temporary loss of civil rights.

3. Judicial condemnation to imprisonment for at least two years.

4. Proof of prodigality, inebriety or a violent disposition.

5. Opposition of feeling or thought between the husband and wife which

passes over into aversion and hate, provided that a separation from bed

and board has been granted on this ground and lasted for a year without a

reconciliation taking place during the interval.

LIMITATIONS TO RIGHT OF ACTION.--Collusion, connivance, condonation or

recrimination extinguishes the right to a divorce.

In a case of adultery divorce will be granted only if the innocent spouse

has instituted proceedings within six months after obtaining knowledge of

the offence, has not condoned it by cohabitation or otherwise and has not

been guilty of a similar offence.

If the insanity of the defendant in a divorce suit has been caused, or

even accelerated by the cruel treatment of the complainant, divorce will

be refused.

PROCEDURE.--In a case of desertion, if the whereabouts of the guilty party

is unknown, the court, by means of publication in all the pulpits of the

district, orders him to return within a year and a day. If he does not

present himself within the time mentioned the judge pronounces the

divorce. Where the ground is insanity the judge must give a hearing to the

nearest relatives of the afflicted party and investigate carefully the

married life of the couple, in order to learn whether the insanity was

caused or even accelerated by the plaintiff.

The State's attorney is not authorized to interfere in a suit for divorce,

nor are attempts at reconciliation required.

The court can, however, advise a reconciliation, with or without the

adjournment of the case.

JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--This is often only the preliminary to an absolute

divorce. It can be granted when hate and violent anger arise between

husband and wife and one of them reports the matter to the rector of the

parish. It is the duty of the rector to admonish the couple. If they do

not become reconciled they are to be further admonished by the consistory.

If this admonition also proves fruitless the court grants a separation

from bed and board for one year. The law provides also that this procedure

may be followed in cases of malicious desertion, where the guilty party

remains in the country or where one party drives the other from home.