The divorce revolution: the unexpected social and economic consequences for women and children in America.

Weitzman LJ
New York, New York, The Free Press, 1985. xxiv, 504 p.

Based on a ten year study of the no-fault divorce law, first instituted in California and used in some form nationwide in the 1970s, this book disproves the law's theory that equal treatment of husband and wife leads to amicable and equitable economic settlements. Instead, the new gender-equal laws have created a new poor -- mothers with minor children and older homemakers lacking job skills. Under the old law, wives were usually awarded the family home and granted alimony and child support, but now they are expected to be self supporting, no matter what their background. These young mothers and older women experience a 73% decline in their standard of living (many have to sell their homes) while their husbands average a 42% increase in theirs. 60% children will experience disruption in their parents' marriage and face financial hardship before reaching 18 because 90% of all custodial parents are women, yet 60-80% of all fathers defy court orders to pay child support. The divorce revolution has three components: 1) the widespread adoption of no-fault divorce laws, 2) the highest divorce rate in US history, and 3) the social acceptability of divorce and nonmarital cohabitation. These have transformed the institution of marriage and the perception and reality of divorce, with unforeseen, far-reaching, and often tragic socioeconomic consequences for women and children. Proposed remedies include support awards based on income sharing; equalizing the standards of living in both households; more effective enforcement measures for these awards, including jail sentences; and grandmother clauses guaranteeing older women an equal share of the fruits of the marriage.

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