Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oldham on the Economic Consequences of Divorce

J. Thomas Oldham, University of Houston Law Center, has posted Changes in the Economic Consequences of Divorces, 1958-2008, which also appears in the Family Law Quarterly 42 (2008). Here is the abstract:
This article, part of an issue that surveys changes in family law over the past 50 years, discusses how the economic consequences of divorce have changed during this period. This article surveys some of the various social changes that have had an impact, such as changes in the divorce rate, changes in the characteristics of divorcing couples, and changes in women's participation in the work force. Some family law legal changes are also discussed, such as the acceptance of equitable distribution and changes in rules applicable to spousal support. Other legal changes are mentioned, such as the acceptance of premarital agreements, the adoption of Medicare, and the acceptance of no-fault divorce.

The article notes that some very general consensus seems to be evolving regarding child support awards and marital property rules. In contrast, very different (and frequently unclear) standards are applied across the country regarding spousal support. The article discusses recent developments in Canada regarding the adoption of advisory spousal support guidelines as one potential avenue to increase predictability of spousal support awards in the U. S.
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