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Dissolution of marriage 1 (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 widower 2 if male and a widow 3 if female. Widowed persons 4 live in a state of widowhood 5.
Where divorce 1 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 divorce 2. In some countries a spouse may be repudiated 3 by the other. Persons whose marriages have been dissolved by divorce are called divorced persons 4. The French words divorcee 5 (feminine) or divorce 6 (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 marriage 1 is upheld by the law, there may yet exist judicial separation 2 sometimes called separation a mensa et toro 2. A judicial separation absolves the parties from certain obligations, including the duty of living together or cohabitation 3 (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 persons 4. Dissolution of marriage by a de facto separation 5, or the desertion 6 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 marriages 7.
- 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 nullity 1 or an annulment of marriage 1 is a declaration by aco urt of law that, although a marriage ceremony has taken place, there has been no valid marriage 2. Although legally a marriage is not dissolved by a de facto separation (512-5), the expression dissolved marriage 3 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 population 1, i.e., persons who are legally free to contract a marriage, and the non-marriageable population 2, 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 marriage 3 and a marriage of a higher order sometimes called a remarriage 4. Because the order of marriage 5 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 status 1, conjugal status 1, marital status 1 or marital condition 1. Single 2 persons, bachelors 3 and spinsters 4 are those who have never been married; they are also sometimes called the never-married 2 class. The class of married persons 5, married men 6 and married women 7, consists of those who have been married and whose marriages have not been dissolved (510-1). All persons except the single are ever-married persons 8.
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