A commission of prominent jurists from Sweden, Norway and
Denmark—with a woman member from each country—drafted this
law. After a trial period in Sweden, the law was also
enacted in Denmark and Norway. Rather than replacing
traditional marriage property laws, it was an alternative
system—a marriage contract that made for a "unity of
property and a unity of responsibility."
Emily summarized this new marriage law as:
"A partnership entered into by a man and a woman who
pool their common interests, and give their common service,
the woman in the way which seems incumbent on her to keep
the home in order and look after the children; the man in
the way for which he seems best fitted to go outside and
earn the money upon which the family is to live..."
Provisions of the Swedish Marriage Act:
- If an amount for the wife to receive cannot be mutually
agreed upon, then they can have a percentage fixed by a judge
- Husband and wife are also equal partners in the care
and raising of their children. If they cannot agree on the
management of their family, they can appeal to court, where
a judge decides what is in the best interests of the child.
- If either partner dies, the other has equal rights to the
property that remains.
- If they separate, or divorce, their
common property is divided on an equal basis, and each
receives the tools of his or her trade or labour.
- Permanent mediators were to be appointed by an
administrative authority for the settlement of disagreements
between the husband and wife.
Emily Murphy found the provision for a mediator
"The immensely practical nature of this provision is
evident when we consider how the disruption of homes, owing
to the disagreement of married persons, is rapidly resulting
in crime, vagrancy and unemployment, and is causing a large
number of children to be chargeable to the State. There can
be little doubt our Canadian provinces will see the wisdom
and propriety of providing for similar mediatorial service."