Acceptance or rejection of a marriage contract

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The objectives of this study were to study whether a certain type marriage contract would be used if legal and available; to study the relationship between acceptance of a marriage contract and demographical characteristics of subjects; and to study which clauses in a marriage contracts would be most likely to be used. Two groups were surveyed: college students and respondents to a newspaper article.

A marriage contract, consisting of ten clauses, was described for the subjects, who were then requested to complete an accompanying questionnaire that asked if they would use the contract; whether they thought the contract should be available for others; and whether they thought their fiancees or spouses would use the contract. In addition to these questions, the subjects were asked to designate, on a Likert-type scale, whether they would or would not use each of the ten clauses.

Approximately 40 per cent of the college students and 50 percent of the newspaper respondents said they would use the contract described. Eighty per cent of the college students and 66 per cent of the newspaper respondents said they would like to see the contract available for others. Thirty per cent of the college students and 32 per cent of the newspaper respondents thought their spouses or fiancees would use the contract. The most popular clauses were those that dealt with traditional tasks within the marital dyad, while the least popular clauses dealt with innovative tasks, i.e., tasks not typically dealt with within the marital dyad.