Brian Bix of the University of Minnesota Law School has released a peer reviewed article to the American Academy of Matrimonial Laywers Journal called Private Ordering and Family Law. Until recently, he contends, private agreements regarding family matters to change the law as it applies to their family were rarely upheld. Of course, a person could choose to get married or not, or to have children or not, but once those choices were made, the law was clearly defined as to the rights and obligations that stem from that decision. In recent years, the laws have become more friendly to allowing private agreements to change the law as it relates to a particular couple or family dynamic.
One can speak of premarital agreements, marital agreements, separation agreements, open adoption agreements, co-parenting agreements, agreements on the disposition of frozen embryos, and agreements to arbitrate disputes arising out of any of the above agreements.
In Dallas family law matters and for that matter in family law matters in Texas, couples may define their property rights during marriage by signing either a premarital agreement (aka prenup) or entering into a postmarital agreement. Parents may choose to have children outside of the traditional marriage relationship and enter into agreements addressing parenting of the child. Domestic partners, including same sex partners, who choose not to legally marry may enter into cohabitation agreements as well.