Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
After MarriageRethinking Marital Relationships$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Elizabeth Brake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190205072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 October 2021

The Limitations of Contract

The Limitations of Contract

Regulating Personal Relationships in a Marriage-Free State

(p.51) 3 The Limitations of Contract
After Marriage

Clare Chambers

Oxford University Press

Many theorists defend enforceable relationship contracts, arguing that they should be available alongside state-recognized marriage or even that they are the best sort of legal regulation to replace marriage. This latter question is the subject of this chapter, which contrasts contract and directive models of regulation, and notes that contract appears to be more compatible with liberty. However, this appearance is illusory since contracts can undermine liberty, directives can enhance liberty, and even a contract regime requires default directives. Moreover, there are various problems with the enforcement of relationship contracts. Specific performance is rarely appropriate in the relationship context. The alternative, fault-based compensatory alimony, risks causing injustice to vulnerable parties. Relational contract theory attempts to deal with some of these problems but has intrinsic limitations. The chapter concludes that contract is not the best replacement for marriage, advocating instead a system of piecemeal directives with limited possibilities for contractual deviation.

Keywords:   marriage, contract, directive, regulation, relationships, liberty, equality, feminism, civil union, partnership

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .