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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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(p.185) Conclusion

(p.185) Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.185) Conclusion
Source:
The Marriage Buyout
Author(s):

Cynthia Lee Starnes

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814708248.003.0011

This concluding chapter argues that alimony is often the only available tool for ensuring that divorce does not impose all the long-term costs of marital roles on caregivers while freeing the other spouse to enjoy all the long-term benefits. Yet in its current incarnation, alimony is not up to the task before it. The law of alimony inspires orders that are unpredictable, inconsistent, short-lived, and uncommon. Alimony's problems are exacerbated by the absence of any contemporary rationale to justify its existence in an age of no-fault divorce and supposed gender equality. Drawing on a loose analogy to partnership, the book has proposed that alimony be reconceptualized as a marriage buyout. Buyouts support new default rules that reinforce egalitarian, gender-neutral, communal visions of marriage, encourage expectations consistent with that vision, and in all but very low-income cases, protect primary caregivers who rely on marriage promises.

Keywords:   alimony law, marriage, gender equality, no-fault divorce

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