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.
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