Love's Promises

How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families

The Supreme Court’s pending decision regarding the constitutionality of same sex marriage reflects the dramatic impact the rule of law has on intimate partnerships. Now more than ever, anyone in such a partnership- from heterosexual and same sex marriage to those in less structured co-habitation arrangements - need to understand how formal and informal contracts shape the emotional, financial, and legal terrain in personal relationships.

In her new book Love’s Promises, law professor Martha Ertman blends memoir and law, delving into the legal cases, anecdotes, and the history of family law to show that love comes in different packages, each shaped by different mini-contracts she calls “deals.” Recalling her own personal journey and other real life cases, Ertman lets readers in on the power of contracts and deals to support love in its many forms and to honor the different ways that our nearest and dearest contribute to our daily lives.

Join New America for a conversation with Professor Ertman on her new book and how contracts, both formal and informal, shape all kinds of families.

Follow the discussion online using #LovesPromises and following @NewAmerica.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.


Martha Ertman
Carole & Hanan Sibel Research Professor of Law, University of Maryland's Carey Law School
Author, Love's Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families

Liza Mundy
Director, Breadwinning and Caregiving Program, New America