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The Marriage BuyoutThe Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law$
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Cynthia Lee Starnes

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708248

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708248.001.0001

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Alimony and Mother Myths

Alimony and Mother Myths

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 Alimony and Mother Myths
Source:
The Marriage Buyout
Author(s):

Cynthia Lee Starnes

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814708248.003.0004

This chapter considers myths about mothers: Mothering just happens. Mothering is free. Mothering is for babies. These myths ensure that the daily realities of mothers' work, the economic consequences of that work, and its value to the family do not receive serious attention. It is argued that for real women who have lost earning capacity because of family responsibilities, mother myths pose great danger, threatening to seduce even fair-minded divorce courts into peculiar notions of equity. Until myths about the reality, the costs, and the value of mothering are debunked, divorce judges vested with broad discretion will continue to penalize mothers who prioritize caregiving over market labor.

Keywords:   divorce, alimony, mothers, mothering, women, earning capacity, equity

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