El derecho canonico, dictado en tiempos de Inocencio III (1198-1216), establecia que la promesa de matrimonio --verba de futuro--carecia de valor juridico, siendo necesario el consentimiento presente, hecho publico y ante testigos--verba de praesenti
. Sin embargo, si aquel compromiso "es seguido por la copula, esta se interpreta como consentimiento de presente expresado, no por palabras, sino por el comportamiento" (Ruiz Sastre 244).
El matrimonio es sacramental e indisoluble desde el mismo momento de su celebracion mediante el consensus de praesenti (a diferencia de los desposorios (36)).
Es decir, con su legislacion, Inocencio III hace prevalecer la desponsatio de praesenti no seguida de la copula sobre una sucesiva despomatio seguida de la copula (91).
Her examination sheds new light on both de futuro and de praesenti
oral marriage contracts and calls attention to the instability of verbal intent, the ring accepted as a non-verbal token, and the misappropriation of signs as legal proof, all of which further complicate adequate dramatic representation.
From the twelfth century onward couples could contract unions using the present tense of the Latin words per verba de praesenti
and be then considered married even without the presence of witnesses, parental consent or solemnization in the church.
An `irregular' marriage, under Scottish law, could be of three kinds: per verba de praesenti
(a mutual agreement to marry at that moment), per verba de futuro subsequente copula (a promise to marry in the future followed by sexual intercourse), and `habit and repute' (cohabiting in such a way as to imply that mutual consent to a marriage had been given).
Scripsi veto non ut interpres, sed ut genitor, et auctor; quemadmodum enim, si de praesenti
bello scriberem, noticia quidem rerum gestarum ex auditu foret, ordo vero, ac dispositio, et verba mea essent, ac meo arbitratu excogitata et posita; eodem item modo ipse noticiam rerum gestarum de illo sumens, in ceteris omnibus ab eo recessi, utpote qui hoc unum habeat boni, quod bello interfuit.
A marriage could be established by verba de praesenti
, that is the statement of consent by both parties, or by verba de futuro, a promise of marriage in the future, followed by sexual intercourse.
In particular, the moral and legal status of marriage contracts per verba de praesenti and de futuro was a frequent topic of discussion.(17) This was no doubt in part because there was genuine confusion about the relative weight of canon and common law in disputed cases; but it was also because spousal contracts and the state of marriage were themselves the locus of casuistical dilemmas.
17 For the common distinction between spousal contracts defuturo (promises to marry at some future time), and de praesenti (an exchange of vows that constitutes marriage in the present moment, preferably but not necessarily, according to canon law, with witnesses and solemnization in Church), see Swinburne.
This first step was followed within a week or two by the fidanze, when a formal notarial instrument would be drawn up--and exit from the match became extremely difficult, although still possible--following which, gifts of rings and jewels were exchanged.(15) About a week later, on what was sometimes called "ring day," a notarial instrument, the instrumentum matrimonii, was prepared, wedding rings exchanged, and troths, the verba de praesenti