Hardly anyone would consider entering a life-long legal commitment without having first estimated carefully the consequences of such an undertaking. Yet this is precisely what people do when it comes to getting married. Far too few couples who are about to wed take the trouble to inform themselves in advance of the legal consequences of marriage and of ways in which they can shape the conditions surrounding their marital status. There are many misconceptions associated with the contract of marriage. It is unjustifiably seen only in the context of separation and divorce rather than being regarded as an instrument whereby marriage partners can jointly establish rules about how they intend to share their lives together – rules that are fair, clearly defined and meet the interests of both parties.