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Dissolution of marriage1 (cf. 501-2) may take place by the death of one of the spouses (501-5), or, in countries where this is permissible, by process of law or by custom. If a marriage is dissolved by death the surviving spouse is called a widower2 if male and a widow3 if female. Widowed persons4 live in a state of widowhood5.
Where divorce1 as an institution is recognized, the dissolution of marriage (501-1) may take place through one of the spouses (501-5) being granted a decree of divorce2. In some countries a spouse may be repudiated3 by the other. Persons whose marriages have been dissolved by divorce are called divorced persons4. The French words divorcee5 (feminine) or divorce6 (masculine) are sometimes used in English, though the masculine term is rare.
In many countries including some in which the principle of the indissolubility of marriage1 is upheld by the law, there may yet exist judicial separation2 sometimes called separation a mensa et toro2. A judicial separation absolves the parties from certain obligations, including the duty of living together or cohabitation3 (cf. 503-3), but does not enable either of them to contract a new marriage. Persons whose marriages have been broken by a separation are called separated persons4. Dissolution of marriage by a de facto separation5, or the desertion6 of one of the spouses by the other is not uncommon in some societies. Such separation must be distinguished from judicial separation. Marriages in which the spouses no longer cohabit, but which have not been legally dissolved may be called broken marriages7.
- 2. In English law, both divorce and judicial separation may be granted by the High Court of Justice. There is also separation by means of a separation order granted by a Court of Petty Sessions, the lowest court in the judicial hierarchy,
A decree of nullity1 or an annulment of marriage1 is a declaration by aco urt of law that, although a marriage ceremony has taken place, there has been no valid marriage2. Although legally a marriage is not dissolved by a de facto separation (512-5), the expression dissolved marriage3 is frequently understood to include such cases and, if they are taken into account at all, annulments. In their extended uses, the expressions "broken marriage" and "dissolved marriage" have the same meaning.
For demographic purposes a distinction is sometimes drawn between the marriageable population1, i.e., persons who are legally free to contract a marriage, and the non-marriageable population2, i. c, those who are not free to do so. Widowed or divorced persons may contract a new marriage; there is thus a distinction between a first marriage3 and a marriage of a higher order sometimes called a remarriage4. Because the order of marriage5 may differ for the two spouses (501-5), the term "first marriage" is ambiguous unless specified as referring to groom (501-6*) or to bride (501-7*) or to both parties. Some demographers limit the term "first marriage", unless otherwise specified, to a marriage between, a bachelor (515-3) and a spinster (515-4).
The population may be divided into different groups by civil status1, conjugal status1, marital status1 or marital condition1. Single2 persons, bachelors3 and spinsters4 are those who have never been married; they are also sometimes called the never-married2 class. The class of married persons5, married men6 and married women7, consists of those who have been married and whose marriages have not been dissolved (510-1). All persons except the single are ever-married persons8.
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