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Pluralism and Decentralization in Marriage Regulation

Brian Bix

University of Minnesota Law School

January 29, 2008

Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-06

This paper, written for a Conference on Multi-Tiered Marriage, explores what the State role in regulating marriage is, and should be, given the growing set of alternative marriage options, and the greater decentralization of marriage regulation in the United States. The paper considers private agreements, menus of options, choice of law, and the delegation of marriage regulation to religious institutions. The paper suggests that the greater diversity and decentralization of marriage regulation is largely a positive development, allowing parties to structure marriages according to their individual needs and sincere religious beliefs. However, there is a need for limits: to protect vulnerable parties, and to reflect beliefs of what is minimally necessary for marriage to work for the social interest rather than against it.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: marriage, divorce, covenant marriage, premarital agreements

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Date posted: January 31, 2008 ; Last revised: February 18, 2008

Suggested Citation

Bix, Brian, Pluralism and Decentralization in Marriage Regulation (January 29, 2008). Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-06. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1088440 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1088440

Contact Information

Brian Bix (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota Law School ( email )
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-2505 (Phone)
612-625-2011 (Fax)
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