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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

A modest proposal

Originally published in The Commons issue #254 (Wednesday, May 14, 2014). This story appeared on page D2.

Here is a marriage proposal of a different sort: a new Vermont law requiring that individuals be in a state of compliance with existing family-court orders prior to being entitled to enter into the legal state of marriage.

It is a fact that the Vermont Superior Court’s Family Division and the Vermont Office of Child Support are overwhelmed with enforcement actions against individuals who choose not to pay their court-ordered obligations.

Most of these defendants claim they are without the ability to pay. However, some magically find the funds to marry again without regard to the obligations they’ve elected to leave unmet.

While these individuals claim to be financially bankrupt, I submit that they are actually morally bankrupt. and’s annual Real Weddings Survey reveals that the average cost of a wedding is $28,427. If, before spending funds on yet another wedding, repeat customers of the Vermont family court were required to bring their existing obligations current, many ex-spouses and employees of the Office of Child Support and family-court system might find themselves in something akin to a state of bliss.

It would be almost like being in love.

Andrea Shader


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