Azerbaijani Turks - Marriage and Family

Marriage. People commonly marry in their early twenties, and within each family are expected to marry in order from eldest to youngest. If marriages are not specifically arranged (arranged marriages are increasingly unlikely in urban areas), Azerbaijani Turks are expected to marry someone whose family is known by or related to their own family. The first child is expected to be born in the first year of marriage, although there is no convention concerning the timing of subsequent children. Higher education may cause marriages to be deferred and may also result in marriage outside the usual circles. Nonetheless, marriage outside the national community is rare. In those instances when official "mixed" marriages are recorded by Soviet statistics, the match is usually with another Turk (a Tatar, Uzbek, etc.) or non-Turkish Muslim (Legzhi, etc.) rather than a non-Turk and non-Muslim. Intermarriage between Turks and Persians in Iran is more likely for those outside Azerbaijan. Abortion, though legal in the north, is virtually unheard of; divorce is rare, and social pressures against it are enormous. Polygamy was illegal in the Soviet Union but existed sporadically in a few rural areas under various guises (such as civil divorce, followed by a civil and religious second marriage).

Domestic Unit. An extended patrilocal family is preferred and is often necessary because of housing shortages in towns in the north. Women constitute a subculture within the household and share in housekeeping and child-rearing duties, even if employed outside the household. They may play an important role in decision making, especially concerning children.

Inheritance. Inheritance was traditionally determined by Islamic provisions that require all offspring to inherit, although males were favored. Now the laws of each state govern inheritance.

Socialization. The family is the main instrument of socialization, and public opinion exerts a powerful force. Both the Russians (under czarist and Soviet power) and Persians have tried to use schools as a means to socialize Azerbaijani Turks into the majority culture. The Russians had limited success; the Persians have had more, especially among those Azerbaijanis who leave Azerbaijan.

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David Oduor
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Is Civil Marriage authorized in Azerbaijan and is it legal?

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