Marriage Game Changer: The 'Wedding Lease'

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Can a marriage be like a lease?

Or perhaps a better question: Should a marriage be like a lease?

Leave it to a lawyer to even broach the subject, which is exactly what Paul Rampell, a Palm Beach, Fla., attorney did last week in a Washington Post opinion piece.

Rampell proposes the idea of "wedleases" — a marriage contract that places an expiration date agreed upon by the spouses. The duration could be one year, five years, 10 years — whatever the "loving couple" deem appropriate.

If at the end of the wedding lease, the couple decides things are going well, the lease can de renewed, again for a specific period. But if the marriage has turned sour, the couple can call it quits without having to go through the messy — and expensive — process of divorce.

Along the way, the couple may buy items together or separately and can agree on the disposal of those items in the event of dissolution of the marriage contract. Rampell isn't exactly clear on how a couple would handle the co-ownership of a house. Presumably, assets would be sold back to a spouse, along with a split of any profits, based on the amount of money each spouse pours into the deal.

Rampell uses the contract between a landlord and a tenant as a model for a wedlease, as those contracts do a good job of separating ownership of property and who walks away with what at the end of a lease.

If you think that breaks the "lock" part of wedlock, you're on the right track.

Wedding leases are inspired by those who want to "try out" marriage without the long-term commitment — "and good luck with that," says April Masini, a relationship expert and founder of AskApril.com.

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