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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 04 March 2021

(p.185) Conclusion

(p.185) Conclusion

(p.185) Conclusion
The Marriage Buyout

Cynthia Lee Starnes

NYU Press

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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