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【经济学人】婚姻制度改革:同居生娃不结婚?︱ 取经号


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年关将近,七大姑八大姨的终极人生百问,可谓防不胜防。“有没有对象?” “准备什么时候结婚?” “都住一起了怎么能不结婚?” “以后你们的小孩,同学知道他爸妈没结婚,不会欺负嘲笑?” “小心以后分手了,连房子都拿不到!” 而这也是各国政府的疑问。面对日益下降的结婚率,各国政府开始更改婚姻制度,长期同居者也将有一纸证书……



正文



Unwed parents and the law

未婚父母和法律

Carriage and horse

马车和马,孰轻孰重



Births out of wedlock are becoming the norm. How should governments respond?

婚外生育正成为常态,政府应该如何应对?


BRITAIN is nearly there; America not far behind; France passed the milestone in 2007. As couples wait longer to marry, and fewer eventually do, the number of countries where more births are out of wedlock than in it has risen to more than 20. Rates across the OECD group of 34 mostly rich countries vary hugely, from 2% in Japan to 70% in Chile. But overall the average is 39% — more than five times what it was in 1970 (see charts).


当情侣们越来越不愿结婚,最终走入婚姻者越来越少,婚外生育人数超过婚内生育的国家数量已经超过了20个。在由34个大部分是富裕的国家组成的经合组织内,婚外生育比率差别很大,从日本的2%到智利的70%。但是平均水平达到了39%——是1970年的五倍还多。英国几乎达到一半,美国也已不远,而法国07年时就已经跨过了这道分界线。



Policymakers wish they could change the trend. Unmarried parents are more likely to split up. Their children learn less in school and are more likely to be unhealthy or behave badly. It is hard to say how much of this difference is due to marriage itself, however, because unmarried parents differ a great deal from married ones. They are poorer, less well-educated and more likely to be teenagers, for example.


政策制定者们希望能够扭转这个趋势。未婚父母分开的可能性更大,而他们的孩子在学校里学习不好,行为恶劣或缺乏营养的可能性也要更大。尽管很难说婚姻本身在这当中的影响有多大,因为未婚父母同已婚父母一般差别很大。例如,未婚父母更贫困,受教育程度低,并且更可能是未成年人。


But efforts to persuade people who otherwise would not marry to do so have generally failed. Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, says that a plethora of policies in America, from tweaking incentives in the benefits system to teaching couples how to be better domestic partners, have had little or no effect on marriage rates. Better, she says, help women to avoid unplanned pregnancies and delay childbearing at least until they finish school and are in a solid relationship, whether married or not.


但是劝说那些没有结婚意愿的人走入婚姻的努力大体上都失败了。布鲁金斯研究院的Isabel Sawhill称美国大量的政策,从福利制度中的激励措施到教导情侣如何更好的成为家庭伴侣,对结婚率影响甚微或根本没有作用。同时她称帮助女性避免意外怀孕,以及无论是否结婚但至少应推迟生育直至完成学业和拥有稳定的感情,能发挥更大的作用。


Governments must still decide what to do when cohabiting couples break up or one partner dies. They tend to take one of three approaches: to treat unmarried couples like married ones if they have been together more than a couple of years; to treat them as if they were single; or to offer several formal alternatives to marriage and hope that couples will choose the one that suits them best.


政府必须做出决策去应对同居情侣分手或其中一方死亡的情况。他们倾向于在以下三个做法中选择:把同居时间超过一年的未婚情侣视为已婚夫妇对待;把他们当做单身对待;提供一些替代婚姻的正式选择,并寄希望于情侣做出对他们最有利的选择。


Subscribers to the first approach include Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and some Canadian provinces. For legal purposes, cohabiting couples are almost indistinguishable from married ones after some time living together, usually two or three years. De facto marriage may kick in earlier for parents. Some countries allow couples to opt out of some of the provisions of de facto marriage by signing a contract, for example if one partner wishes to exclude property, or money for offspring from a previous relationship.


采取第一种做法的包括澳大利亚,新西兰,瑞典和加拿大的一些省份。通常在同居2到3年后,在法律意义上,未婚情侣同已婚情侣间已经没有任何区别了。对有孩子的未婚情侣来说,事实婚姻开始得更早。一些国家允许情侣间通过签署合同的方式从一些事实婚姻的规定条款中豁免,例如当一方不想给前一段关系中的子女财产或钱款时。



In Australia, however, couples rarely draw up opt-outs, says Belinda Fehlberg of the University of Melbourne. So courts still end up dealing with messy separations. One party may dispute the very existence of a relationship. In a property dispute in 2013 a judge ruled that a couple who had lived together for 14 years, holidayed together and had regular sex were not in a de facto marriage. The woman claimed they had been. The man, who had married someone else, said they hadn’t, because one had always paid rent to the other.


然而墨尔本大学的Belinda Fehlberg称,在澳大利亚,情侣间很少签署豁免合同。因此,一些棘手的分手问题仍要通过法庭处理。双方一般对两者间的关系有很大的争议。在2013年的一次财产纠纷案中,法官认定一对同居14年,一起度假、进行有规律的性生活的情侣不处于法律意义的婚姻中。女方称二者是法律意义上的夫妻。男方同其他人结婚了,称他们并不是法律意义上的夫妻,因为一方一直向另一方付了房租。


In Brazil, where two-thirds of children are born to unmarried parents, couples whose relationship is “public, permanent and intended to form a family unit” are regarded as being in a “stable union”. They need not live together, and there is no set period before the law kicks in. Foreign clients find this startling, says Carolina Ducci of Mattos Filho Advogados, a São Paulo law firm; she advises those in unmarried relationships to declare a stable union in a notary’s office in case doubts arise. For those with the opposite concern—that a casual fling might demand alimony—there is no such quick fix. Some rich Brazilians insist on “dating contracts” at the start of any new relationship, says Ms Ducci—but these have no legal status.


在巴西,三分之二的孩子出生时,他们的父母都处于未婚状态。如果双方的感情关系是公开、持久的、有意组成家庭的,那他们被认为处于法律认同的“稳定关系”中。他们不需要住在一起,法律也没有规定二人需要在一起多长时间才能被视为“稳定关系”。 在圣保罗Mattos Filho Advogados律所工作的Carolina Ducci说,这项婚姻制度让外国客户觉得很震惊。她建议未婚伴侣去公证处声明自己处于“稳定关系”中,以防他们的感情遭到质疑。有人却担心出现相反的情况,他们怕为了一次艳遇而被要求支付赡养费,但目前并没有避免此问题的权宜之计。Ducci说,有些巴西富豪会在开始任何一段感情前,签署“约会协议书”,但协议本身不具法律效益。


Marriages of inconvenience

麻烦的婚姻

 

Such disputes are surprisingly rare, though, because Brazilians know the risks. Anyone determined not to enter a stable union will do nothing that a judge might take as evidence of one. Pictures together on Facebook show that a relationship was public, for example. Paying bills jointly, sharing a bank account or making loan repayments for a partner can be taken as intent to form a family. More common are legal battles after one partner dies: children from a former marriage, who lose out if their parent enters a new union, may dispute that a partner was a de facto spouse.


不过相关的纠纷却很少,因为巴西人知道背后的风险。任何决定不进入法律意义上的“稳定关系”的人,不会做任何会被法官当作证据的事。比如,在脸书上传二人合照说明他们的感情关系是公开的。一起支付账单、共享银行账户、为对方还贷款等也被视为有意向组成家庭。更常见的法律纠纷发生在某一方去死后:比如,对前一段婚姻中所生的孩子来说,如果他们的父母开始一段新感情,他们会有些损失,所以孩子可能会反驳父母后来的伴侣是被法律认可的配偶。

 

By comparison, recognising only formal marriage has the merit of clarity. But countries that take this approach, such as many American states, England, Italy and much of eastern Europe, have problems, too. The assumption that all those who want the rights and obligations of marriage will wed is often wrong. In many countries lots of unmarried couples mistakenly believe that they have all the rights of married ones after they have lived together for some time. And often, says Robert Wintemute of King’s College London, one partner wants to marry but the other does not. The reluctant party is usually the richer one, most often the man.


相比之下,只认同正式的婚姻关系的国家和地区,执法会比较清晰。美国大部分州、英国、意大利和大部分东欧国家都奉行这样的婚姻制度,但也同样遇到很多问题。不能想当然地认为凡是争取婚姻权利与责任的人都会结婚。在很多国家,大量未婚伴侣会错误地认为,他们共同生活一段时间后,也能享有已婚夫妻才有的权利。来自伦敦国王学院的Robert Wintemute说,常常一方想结婚而另一方不愿意。不情愿的一方总是更有钱,而且基本都是男方。


Some people in this situation will leave and look for a less marriage-shy partner; others realise their predicament only after children are born, when keeping the family together trumps unshared marital aspirations. They risk poverty, even homelessness, if they are bereaved or the relationship comes to a bitter end. After a divorce, the parent who does most of the child care usually gets the family home, no matter whose name it is in or who paid for it; without marriage there is no such guarantee.


在这种情况下,有些人会选择离开,去寻找更不抗拒婚姻的人。但有些人只有在生孩子后才意识到自己所处的困境,即使双方对婚姻的看法不同,也要为了孩子不离开这个家庭。如果伴侣去世或是感情破裂,他们要承受贫困、甚至无家可归的风险。在离婚后,不论房子是谁买的或房产证上写的是谁的名字,照顾孩子最多的一方往往能得到房子。但是如果他们不是合法夫妻,就没有这样的法律保障了。


In England, bereaved unmarried partners may have to sell the family home to pay inheritance tax that a spouse would have been exempt from—if they are lucky enough to be left it, that is. Without a will, they may be made homeless by blood relatives favoured by the intestacy rules. The British government has done nothing to change these, despite recommendations from the parliamentary law commission and family lawyers’ association that some unmarried partners be given the inheritance rights of spouses.


在英国,被法律承认的配偶不需要支付遗产继承税。但是,若未婚情侣的一方去世后,仍在世的一方如果足够幸运地得到了房子地继承权,他们也可能不得不卖房子去支付高昂的遗产继承税。如果没有遗嘱,他们可能无家可归,因为法律更偏向保护血亲的利益。英国政府没有修改相关法律条款,即便议会的法律委员会和家庭律师协会都建议未婚伴侣也应享有配偶的遗产继承权。


Belgium, France and the Netherlands take a third approach, offering a range of formal options short of marriage. A cohabitation agreement, one of the options in the Netherlands, can be drawn up by a notary; more than half of unmarried Dutch couples had one in 2008. Couples can tailor these with details on how assets and expenses will be shared. A popular choice in France is the pacte civil de solidarité (PACS), which confers many of marriage’s rights and duties but is easier to end: one partner can terminate it by a registered letter or by marrying someone else, without giving notice to the (possibly surprised) ex. Couples in a PACS get the same income- and inheritance-tax breaks as married ones. But if they separate neither can claim alimony or the other’s property. About two-thirds as many French couples are in a PACS as are married—a popularity that has spawned a new verb: se pacser (to “get pacs-ed”).


比利时、法国和荷兰的婚姻制度有别于以上两种,为未婚人士提供很多正式的选择。比如,在荷兰执行的其中一项便是公证处可以颁发同居协议。在2008年,超过一半的荷兰未婚情侣都办理了这项协议。而且他们还可以协商在财产和支出上的一些细节。在法国比较受欢迎的是民事互助契约(PACS)。契约赋予享有大部分传统婚姻制度的权利与义务,分手的程序则比离婚要简单:可以单方中止同居关系,如果他(她)有注册信或是直接与别人结婚,不需要告知(可能很惊讶的)未婚前任。在PACS系统中,未婚情侣享有和已婚夫妇一样的个人所得税与遗产继承税的减免,但如果他们分手,不能索取赡养费,也不能得到对方的财产。通过民事互助契约登记结合的情侣数量大概是已婚夫妻的三分之二。民事互助契约十分受欢迎,还因此产生了一个新法语词:se pacser(签民事互助契约)。


But even when several options are on offer, many couples choose none. A fifth of French and Dutch cohabiting couples are in no form of registered partnership—the same share as in England, where marriage is the only option. (English same-sex couples can also enter into a civil union, a remnant of the equal-but-separate era before gay marriage became legal in 2014.) In the end governments face a trade-off. Treating long-lasting cohabitation as marriage leads to fewer bereaved and wronged families—but also blurs a once-clear line. Not doing so, though, puts the law out of step with the way families are evolving.


但即使有很多结婚之外的选择,很多情侣却什么也不选。在法国与荷兰,五分之一的同居伴侣没有做任何登记证明,数据大概和只承认传统婚姻制度的英国一样。 (在2014年同性婚姻合法前,英国允许同性伴侣“民事结合”,被视为是“隔离但平等”政策的延续)。到最后,政府需要权衡利弊。将长期同居视作婚姻有利于减少丧亲与不和谐家庭的数量,但是也模糊了曾经清晰明确的法律界线。但如果不这样做,法律跟不上家庭形式的演变。


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学习笔记



1. wedlock   n. 婚姻;已婚状态


2. plethora   n. 过多;过量;过剩

A plethora of policies in America, from tweaking incentives in the benefits system to teaching couples how to be better domestic partners, have had little or no effect on marriage rates.

美国大量的政策,从福利制度中的激励措施到教导情侣如何更好的成为家庭伴侣,对结婚率影响甚微或根本没有作用。

 

3. De facto marriage 事实婚姻

De facto marriage may kick in earlier for parents.

对有孩子的未婚情侣来说,事实婚姻开始得更早。


4. fling  n. 一阵尽情欢乐;一时的放纵 v. 抛;猛动

  alimony  n. 扶养费

A casual fling might demand alimony.

一次艳遇可能会被要求支付赡养费。

 

5. bereaved   adj. 丧失亲友的

They risk poverty, even homelessness, if they are bereaved or the relationship comes to a bitter end

如果伴侣去世或是感情破裂,他们要承受贫困、甚至无家可归的风险。

 

6. intestacy   n. 无遗嘱

Without a will, they may be made homeless by blood relatives favoured by the intestacy rules.

如果没有遗嘱,他们可能无家可归,因为法律更偏向保护血亲的利益。

 

7. notary  n. 公证人

She advises those in unmarried relationships to declare a stable union in a notary’s office in case doubts arise.

她建议未婚伴侣去公证处声明自己处于“稳定关系”中,以防他们的感情遭到质疑。


翻译: 董志刚

朱宇晴

校对:杨雅丽

策划:朱宇晴




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