Rental Marriages

Real-estate lawyer Paul Rampell thinks short-term marriage contracts, or “wedleases,” are an idea whose time has come:

Here’s how a marital lease could work: Two people commit themselves to marriage for a period of years – one year, five years, 10 years, whatever term suits them. The marital lease could be renewed at the end of the term however many times a couple likes. It could end up lasting a lifetime if the relationship is good and worth continuing. But if the relationship is bad, the couple could go their separate ways at the end of the term. The messiness of divorce is avoided and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit.

Kyle Cupp raises his eyebrows:

Rampell asks why society doesn’t make the legal structure of marriage more congruent to human behavior. The answer to this is simple. One of the purposes of marriage is to direct and compel behavior. People make vows, publicly, and henceforth there is a public expectation that the couple will keep their vows. The legal structure of marriage reenforces this expectation. Marriage sets ideals the couple has to work towards. Hard work? Always. Chance for failure? You bet. Are these challenges good reason for society to stop encouraging married couples to make a lifelong commitment? I suppose that depends on whether you think people treating marriage as a rental unit is a good idea.