The Marriage Contract
Divorce is just a breakdown in negotiations.
This analysis is far from exhaustive, and I know from much recent experience that Slate readers will forcefully call my attention to scenarios I've failed to consider. Let me pre-empt them and go a step further by pointing out a basic question I've ignored: How does a change in the marriage contract affect a couple's decision about whether to get married in the first place? There's a lot of interesting economics in that question, and if I manage to sort it out, I'll let you know.
Steven E. Landsburg is the author, most recently, ofMore Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.