Northwestern University School of Law
One simplified view of contract law is that the state enforces private bargains without looking into the substance of those bargains. From this contractual perspective marriage might look like a contract to exchange services and goods: love, money, the ability to have and raise children, housework, sex, emotional support, physical care in times of sickness, entertainment and so forth. But when the parties to a marriage put these terms in writing, courts only enforce the provisions governing money. This contract/family law rule of selective enforcement disproportionately benefits those who bring more money to a marriage, who are more likely to be men than women.
Katharine B. Silbaugh,
Marriage Contracts and the Family Economy
Northwestern University Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/1675