Dates and chronology on the Family

The family has evolved a lot, reflecting the evolution of morals, in France as in the rest of the world. This is what the following chronology shows, which lists all the dates that have marked a change in the conception of the family, and of family law.

– 17 in Italy, Lex Julia the adultery: the husband of an adulterous woman must repudiate her to avoid being considered a pimp

king Clotaire II promulgates an edict forbidding the marriage of a woman against her will

1215 the IV Lateran Council establishes rules for marriage, including mutual consent, witnesses, and a minimum age

the law of September 20 establishes civil marriage and authorizes divorce in France

1816 the law giving the right to divorce is abrogated in France
1871 in Brazil, a law emancipates the children whose mother is a slave
1871 in France, the equality of legitimate and natural children, wives and concubines is decreed with regard to the collection of pensions
1880 Arcanum Dvinae is published, encyclical of the pope Léon XIII on the marriage
1882 the Edmunds Act prohibits polygamy in the United States
1884 a law on divorce in France makes it possible in cases of adultery, violence, or conviction
1889 law in France on the protection of abandoned children, now placed under the authority of the prefect
1892 in Canada, a law punishes polygamy with five years in prison
1901 in France, the law condemns the kidnapping of minors by parents who have not obtained the right of custody
1904 the age of criminal responsibility is set at 18 years in France
1939 a decree-law institutes the Family and Birth Code in France, aiming at promoting births
1942 the Vichy government tried to set up a “Family Charter”
1946 the finance law in France favors couples with children
1949 in South Africa, a law prohibits marriage between whites and non-whites
1965 the law now allows a married woman to have a bank account without her husband’s consent in France
1967 the Neuwirth law authorizes contraception in France
1970 the expression “head of the family” is replaced by “joint parental authority” in French law
1970 the orphaning allowance is created in France following the single-parent model
1974 introduction in France of a means-tested back-to-school allowance for children aged 6 to 16
1975 the Veil law legalizes abortion in France under certain conditions
1977 creation in France of the APL personalized housing assistance
1980 rape is recognized as a crime by French law
1981 substantial revaluation of family benefits and widening of the field of beneficiaries
1984 restriction of women’s rights in Algeria by the personal status and family code
1985 equality of spouses in matrimonial regimes and of parents in the management of the property of minor children is ensured by a French law
1989 Adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child within the framework of the United Nations
1990 the Cossey vs. British case is the occasion for the European Court of Human Rights to confirm its refusal to recognize the right to homosexual marriage
1993 a law establishes co-parenthood in France, with both parents exercising their authority by right if they have recognized the child
1995 in Ireland, a referendum abolishes the constitutional ban on divorce
1999 promulgation of the law on the PACS, Civil Solidarity Pact
2001 introduction of paternity leave
2004 a French law makes divorce possible despite the opposition of the spouse
2004 Noël Mamère, mayor of Bègles, celebrates a homosexual marriage, which is then annulled by the judicial institutions
2005 a child can receive the name of the father, the mother, or both, in France
2009 same-sex marriage is made legal in Norway
2009 in Mali, a new Code of Persons and Family is adopted
2013 introduction of same-sex marriage in France
2014–2015 a Vatican synod on marriage and family opens under the papacy of Francis I

This history of the family is, of course, bound to evolve, as the 21st century is marked by important changes in family policies, and new dates on the family may be added as they occur.

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