As said before, in order to create a legally-binding relationship
you must have two lawyers—one representing each partner—
who will make sure that each of these features of a valid contract is
Your lawyers will be responsible for helping you to create a contract
that both satisfies what you want to achieve
and fulfills the requirements of the law underlying your contract.
B. An Informal Agreement.
But the basic thrust of this book has been
directed toward informal
relationship contracts, written by yourselves, using your own language.
You will omit technical words and provisions you do not fully
A self-created relationship contract
will spell out all meanings in detail, using everyday English words,
perhaps including specific illustrations of behavior to be followed or
Lawyers usually do not do this in their contracts
because they depend on legal shorthand to carry all the meaning they
(Eg, consider the difference between owning a car as A and B versus A
Your personal relationship contract is not
intended for other to read.
You are not trying to follow language that others could use in such
But lawyers always follow well-tested language:
They know how such provisions will be interpreted by the courts.
Use as much paper as you wish.
Put in stories about past behavior you want to reproduce or avoid.
You are designing your private relationship,
not creating a new domestic-relations law for others to follow.
Be specific about what you want and do not want
in the next phase of your relationship.
And make sure that both partners fully understand each provision
—and agree to it—before you move on to the next Question.
If you write your own relationship agreement,
there will be no surprises, which can only be disentangled by lawyers.
If you have an informal relationship contract,
you cannot depend on going to court to compel your partner
to do something or to refrain from doing something.
Rather, you will suggest that the relationship
will be allowed to expire at the next renewal date
unless a stronger provision is included to make sure
that some specified behavior is followed without fail.
168 DESIGNER MARRIAGE: WRITE YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP CONTRACT
by James Park
The page above includes the complete section called "An Informal
Agreement" from Designer
December 23, 2009; Revised