"Wed Lease" Limiting Marriage Duration Weakens Marriage Rather than Eases Divorce

Introduced by a legal scholar who was trying to find a way to reduce the divorce rate in the United States, a wedlease is a contract between the two parties in a married couple that spells out the terms of the relationship, including the length of time that the couple would remain in the relationship.

If the idea gains favor and wedleases become law, the contract would be created during family law mediation. The agreement could define the rights and responsibilities of each party, as well as property division after the formal relationship comes to a close. It could even include an option to renew the lease if the couple is happy in their relationship. It would also need to include a provision that would end the contract if one or both parties violated the terms of the wedlease.

The terms of the agreement should also include the provisions for children who are born from the wedlease relationship. It could extend the lease until the couple's youngest child is either emancipated or is no longer considered to be a minor by law.

The legal minds who came up with the wedlease theory believed that marriage is an evolving institution, and that it should include couples who do not want to be bound to remain together beyond a set period of time. For the moment, however, wedleases only exist in the minds of the idea's creator. They are not legal as of yet.

For couples who want to have formal agreements about each party's responsibilities and rights in a standard marriage, there are, of course, post-nuptial and prenuptial agreements that the couple can create. With the help of family law mediation, a couple can make some substantial decisions about property ownership and other responsibilities and rights that each party will have within the marriage relationship. The couple cannot, though, specify a time at which the relationship will come to a close. Marriage is still for a lifetime. according to Florida state law.

Read more at http://targetlaw.com/a-new-concept-called-a-wedlease-may-be-in-the-future-of-florida-family-law-mediation.
On the other hand, a restorative family perspective might allow an attorney to consider how to use a contract to help couples work through their difficulties, rather than plan their marriage's demise from the outset.  To learn how to do that see the article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1949256 - "Understanding Realistic Reconciliation in an Age of Divorce. " Family restoration is a movement to strengthen marriage.  A Wed Lease limits a marriage's duration from its inception, seemingly to ease divorce, but unwittingly weakening marriage from its very start. 


  1. The wedlease idea would cause a negative impact on children. A court would only be able to enforce the terms of the wedlease that relate to the child if the terms are in the best interest of the child. Therefore, wedleases would cause children to be the subject of litigation each time a lease ends. Additionally, wedleases would increase the number of children in broken homes. The law should encourage the family structure to stay together. The law should not make it easier for a family to separate, leaving many children in broken homes with parents fighting over custody.

  2. The continuing of a stable family unit is seemingly necessary for a healthy society. A wed lease does undermine the ideal and traditional concept of marriage. The whole idea is extremely self centered. Going into a marriage, it is probably best if each partner in that union has the best interest of the other in mind, at least at the beginning. "Going into a lease marriage, if I'm not happy after an agreed upon term, I want to trade this one in for one that I believe will make me happier!" Self reflection may be appropriate...