Through The Eyes of Women: Modern Family Contracts

Sep 13, 2017

Martha Ertman, author Love's Promises

We have the best of intentions. We do. We can declare our love. We can promise to always be there. Sometimes we might even promise to always do the dishes when our partner cooks. And of course, we mean it when we say it.

But are you willing to back that up in writing, partner?


 In her new book Love’s Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families, contract law professor Martha Ertman examines the legal agreements and less formal “deals” that can add harmony to our intimate relationships and maybe mitigate some of the pain and confusion if those relationships end. While Love's Promises has a lot of great get-along principles that we can apply to many areas of our lives, it is primarily geared toward the modern “blended” families that are becoming increasingly ordinary, termed “Plan B Families” by Ertman. As such, it can function almost as a handbook for securing solid understanding between co-parents, stepfamilies, and same sex partners. In today’s show, Ertman talks about her own Plan B Family and how her judicious use of contracts keeps it humming. And since her book’s publication nearly coincided with the Supreme Court’s historic decision legalizing same sex marriages, Ertman addresses the impact she anticipates for existing unions. Naturally, we expect a sequel to Love’s Promises must be in the works already. 

This post originally appeared here, and aired in August of 2015. Never miss an episode; subscribe to the podcast here.