Covenant Marriages: Increasing Commitment or Costs?

20 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018

Date Written: January 2018


To combat growing divorce rates, some states have begun to offer covenant marriage contracts, which are more costly to enter and exit than traditional marriages. This paper explores how having this option changes couples’ relationship decisions. It utilizes marriage and divorce rate data from Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas between 1990 and 2013 to understand how covenants change the relationship decisions made by individuals. It provide the first documentation of the potential and observed effects of this new relationship status and evidence about whether or not this option is effective in its goal of creating stronger, happier unions.

Keywords: covenant marriage, state marriage contracts, divorce rates

Suggested Citation

Felkey, Amanda J., Covenant Marriages: Increasing Commitment or Costs? (January 2018). Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 44, Issue 1, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Amanda J. Felkey (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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