Intimate Contracts and Choice Theory

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Contract is one of the key tools liberal law employs in the service of its core mission of enhancing people's autonomy, and choice theory conceptualizes this task as contract's telos. It thus prescribes three principles - proactive facilitation, regard for the future self, and relational justice - for guiding the legal constitution of contract law in all spheres of human interaction. Spousal contracts are no exception. Thus, the law governing intimate agreements both allows people to adjust the default rules governing their marital estates and provides people off-the-shelf options for structuring their interpersonal interaction as spouses. In turn, the law of marital contracts ensures that free exit from marriage is, as it should be, immutable. Finally, relational justice guides, albeit still imperfectly, both law's normative defaults for marital contracts and the rules that govern premarital, marital, and cohabitation agreements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-126
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Review of Contract Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • choice theory
  • contract theory
  • intimate contracts
  • liberal theory
  • relational justice


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