With federal recognition of same-sex marriages now established, some experts are asking what gay partners can do to maintain an institution that many consider to be fatally desecrated through widespread divorce.
As it stands, marriage contracts are a messy business when relationships break down, both on a personal and financial level. In fact, the divorce industry is a thriving sector in itself. The rate of marriages ending in divorce is more than 50% for first-time spouses and more than 67% for second-timers.
It’s estimated that with over a million divorces a year, at the cost of fifteen thousand dollars per opposite-sex spouse, it works out as a thirty billion dollar industry. To add to the mix, the cost of same-sex divorceis expected to be twice that of opposite-sex divorces because of a less established legal precedent.
Author Brad Brown emphasizes the relevance of loosely defined agreements and no-fault divorces. His upcoming book, Term Limits: An Evolutionary Fix For Marriage poses questions for the entire institution of marriage.
“Marriage is the most popular and ill-defined contract out there,” says Brown.
“What we all need are marriages that work and are defined to do so. Reward each other for good and strengthen the relationship by redefining it at regular intervals. Then eliminate the power manipulative spouses have through the divorce process. Gay or straight, none of us needs the divorce court procedures that the current institution has set in place.”
Brown and co-author Dave Shields offer advice to prospective spouses simply through a list of questions and considerations, including prenups, to discuss with one another. These offer a fix to a contract currently viewed as undefined, unbinding and which has long forgotten the phrase “‘til death do us part.”
1. What is the real reason you are getting married? Be brutally honest and write down the exact reasons.
2. Have you done a realistic discovery to learn all you can about your future spouse? Does your crush have a lifetime of staying power?
3. What are you expecting to get from this relationship?
4. What is your partner expecting to get from this relationship?
5. Structure the marriage to work within a realistic time frame.
6. Draw up an inexpensive agreement that includes each person’s reasons for marriage, what their needs are that must be met by their partner, what they hope to experience from being with their partner, and for how long they both agree to abide by the contract.
7. Include an agreed upon list of penalties and consequences for breaching the contract.
8. Prepare a predetermined ending with division of all assets, in case the union dissolves.
9. Get married and [have a]honeymoon.
10. If you had a good marriage for the first term, you redefine your new terms and renew. Renewal is always earned and mutually agreed upon, but not guaranteed.