Larsa was a very beautiful maiden when she was young, desired by many rich and eligible bachelors, but none so striking as Shamsi Elam, the young, gallant, handsome, and very rich businessman dealing in the finest wines of the Middle East. When the two met, it was love at first sight.
Shamsi quickly and quietly beat his competitors to the punch by offering the largest bride price and arranging a marriage to Larsa through her father, a wealthy merchant in his own right. Larsa brought to the marriage a very healthy dowry, bragged about within the circles of the Kish’s elite, the city where she grew up. After an elaborate marriage ceremony, Larsa settled into the role of being a devoted wife.
Children soon came to the Elam household and excitement filled the air. After two daughters and finally a son, Shamsi enjoyed the knowledge there was an heir to his accomplishments in life. As time wore on, though, the rigors of raising children took its toll on Larsa. Once the most beautiful belle of Kish, Larsa now sagged in not only her breasts but her face also. In her late twenties, she looked much older. Shamsi found more and more reasons to be gone longer on his business trips seeking new wines throughout the Middle East. Larsa’s nights began to be characterized by loneliness, and her days were dominated by hard work and the demands of her children. The once beautiful girl had become most unhappy.
After an extended business trip, Shamsi came home one day with a great revelation, he had once again found new love. Revealing a very young and beautiful maiden to his family, he quickly announced he wanted a divorce from Larsa. The laws in Babylon under King Hammurabi were clear. Although a marriage consisted of only one man and one woman, a man could repudiate the marriage before a Babylonian Court after paying the Court a solatium of half a mina. The woman could be put to death under Babylonian law for repudiating her husband.
Larsa had no recourse but to accept the repudiation, and the only good news was that since she had given Shamsi children, the Hammarabi code would be kind to her. Shamsi was required by law to return to Larsa her dowry in full, give her custody of the children with no possibility of disinheritance, provide her spousal support and the children with child support for the rest of their lives befitting their lifestyle, and Larsa would have a share of Shamsi’s property with her children at his death. The children would share equally in inheritance of Shamsi’s property if he had children by his new wife. Larsa would not be allowed to be married again until Shamsi’s death. It was good news for Shamsi and his new wife that Larsa didn’t take matters into her own hands.
These events could have happened in Babylon more than four thousand years ago. Do they sound like they could have happened in Akron, Ohio today? After all, in the state of Ohio, the only reason required for divorce by either party is incompatibility. Isn’t that basically what Shamsi decided about his own marriage? You be the judge!
If you are having troubles in your marriage and are not familiar with our laws today, please don’t take matters into your own hands. Contact us right now at and we will put you in touch with a divorce attorney who can provide you with legal counsel on the current laws of divorce.
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