Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Marriage BuyoutThe Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 23 April 2021

(p.9) 1 Who Cares about Alimony?

(p.9) 1 Who Cares about Alimony?

(p.9) 1 Who Cares about Alimony?
The Marriage Buyout

Cynthia Lee Starnes

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the significance of alimony. A conventional marriage usually involves a primary caregiver who takes care of the children and the home, and the spouse who participates in the paid economy as an “ideal worker” unshackled by primary home responsibilities. Teamwork allows the couple to enjoy together a home with children and a family wage. But if affection fades, divorce may unmask the reality that teamwork has disparately impacted the spouses' earning capacity. Over time, investments in family labor tend to reduce earning capacity for a primary caregiver, while investments in paid labor tend to increase earning capacity for a primary breadwinner. A clean break at divorce thus means the primary caregiver will bear most of the long-term costs of family roles while the primary wage-earner will enjoy most of the benefits in the form of enhanced earning capacity. When marital property is scant, alimony is the only judicial tool for addressing this inequity. This, in a nutshell, is why alimony matters. The final section of the chapter previews common objections to alimony.

Keywords:   divorce, alimony, primary caregiver, spouses, marriage, earning capacity

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.