A Totally Unenforceable Marriage Contract

In a near perfect world, people would not have to enter into a contract to merge their lives according to these principles. From my experience, most of my 3000 + family law cases result from gross violations of the principles set out below, and most “difficult” cases do too.


Come now the parties, the party of the first part, known as the wife, and  the party the second part, the husband, who, in consideration of their mutual love, admiration, commitment and respect, mutually agree as follows:

Whereas, the parties recognize she and he will swear their undying love to one another when they marry, as they have agreed to do;

Whereas, the parties know that such promises of commitment and fidelity are unenforceable under the law;

And Whereas, the parties know that these solemn promises are worth only what each party’s word is worth.

Each is forewarned that marrying for frivolous or short term, or prurient, reasons is contrary to their best interests and the interests of any children they may have, as is the abuse of alcohol, drugs, or each other;

And, Whereas, each party recognizes that equality is the standard by which they will measure their relationship;

And Whereas, the parties are/are not (if not, all references to children are adjusted to the situation of the parties re: step children or other family members who are children) desirous of having children and setting the best examples for them they possibly can during their upbringing:

Now, therefore:

1. The parties hereby agree to marry for life on the ____ day of ____, _Mo._,  (year).

2. The parties solemnly promise follows:

a. Neither party will attempt to control, demean, abuse, or neglect the other.

b. Recognizing that the parties have agreed to become life partners, the parties agree that their primary commitment will be to one another, but neither party will attempt unduly to limit the other parties contact with family or friends.

c. In turn, neither party will place their commitment to extended family or friends to take precedence over their marital commitment, since it is essential, especially if the parties have children together, to lay a proper foundation for rearing those children and for maintaining and nurturing that lifetime relationship.

e. Each party commits to a loving, physical, and sexual relationship to the extent that each is able to maintain such a relationship, and to do such study and learning as to be able to maintain such a relationship in spite of the stresses and pressures of their lives.

f. Each party will pursue her/his life in a manner to seek physical and emotional health. More particularly, the parties will  follow sound nutritional practices, endeavor to maintain fitness, avoid excessive use of alcohol, illegal drugs, unnecessary dependency upon pain and other medications, and unhealthful lifestyle and health practices.

g. Neither party will boss the other, or be “mean” to the other, or make fun of the person in front of friends or family, or physically place hands on the other person in an insulting or abusive manner.

h. In this new world of The Internet and social media, each party will conduct himself and herself on the Internet in a manner they will not be embarrassed to reveal to their parents, their spouse, their best friend, or their minister.

i. In turn, neither party will endeavor to control, or demand that the other party not participate in,  regular social media interaction in a manner consistent with the values of the parties.

j. The parties agree to share everything they own, pool their resources, pay their bills from one source, maintain financial moderation, pay their bills on time, and live within their means.

k. As members of a modern society, the parties will not “live with their heads in the sand”. They will endeavor to learn, read, maintain knowledge of current events and world developments, understand and convey to their children, information of modern technology and communication, and learn and pursue critical thinking and intelligent communication.

l. Within their means and capabilities, the parties will endeavor to foster in their children mutual respect and love, respect for their parents, obedience to their parents, reading, learning, exploring, creating, and maintaining health and fitness. They recognize that discipline, measured and wise, is a key element in raising whole and health children to adulthood.

m. The parties, of course, in marrying, have committed to one another fidelity, love, respect and commitment, but if the marriage fails, the parties likewise commit, and will be bound, to retain competent counsel, experienced in alternate dispute resolution, to avoid acts of domestic violence, threats or coercion, to place their children first, not to expose the children to any “significant other”, not to place the children in the middle of controversies, not to communicate through children,  not to act around the children in a manner contrary to their welfare, and never, never permit the parties’ families or friends to become “warring camps”, on Facebook or in the “real world.”

n. Therefore, if either party is so miserable in the marital relationship, as to call it off, the other party will not attempt through emotional blackmail, threats, guilt trips, or undue pressure, to force that person to stay in a relationship where they are not happy, and the parties will attempt to put off having other relationships until separation and divorce have been completed.

o. Consistent with paragraph “m.”, however, in light of the profound seriousness of the commitment the parties have undertaken, they will not part lightly and will explore every reasonable option to save a marriage, especially marital, conflict,  intimacy, or communication counseling, or personal therapeutic counseling if either or both parties should need that.

p. If the parties discover, following separation and\or divorce, that they are unable to communicate by placing the children first, and that their communication results in conflict and controversy, they will seek out a trained “conflict counselor” an attempt to acquire the tools they need to work collaboratively in raising the children while living separate from one another.

q. The parties are confident, having committed to one another and their children in this detail, that they are entering into this marriage with an excellent chance for a lifetime together.

Signed: ______________________ (husband)      Date: _____________________


______________________ (wife)              Date: ______________________

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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