subsequente copula

subsequente copula

in Scots family law, a form of irregular marriage that took place as at the date of sexual intercourse if a promise to marry had been made before it and the act took place on the faith of it. Clearly, this helped avoid the stigma of children being illegitimate.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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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).