Contracting for Security: Paying Married Women What They've Earned

Katharine K. Baker
1988 The University of Chicago Law Review  
W]e do not have promises because we have a law of contracts; we have a law of contracts because we have promises. 1 Divorce is an economic disaster for women.' The latest census figures reveal that only 15 percent of divorced women in this country are awarded any alimony or maintenance payments. Of that 15 percent, only a small percentage receive any of the awarded money. The mean annual alimony income for those who do receive money is only $3,733.3 A recent California study found that the
more » ... found that the standard of living for men increases 42 percent after divorce, while the standard of living for women decreases by 73 percent. 4 A similar study in Vermont showed men's per capita income rising by 120 percent and women's decreasing by 33 percent. 5 Divorce always has t A.B. Harvard University; . One significant cause of the economic disparity between divorced men and women is men's consistent failure to pay what courts order them to pay. A recent study found that one of every six men was in arrears on alimony payments within six months of the divorce decree, owing an average of over $1,000. Id at 192. The notoriously difficult problem of enforcement is beyond the scope of this comment. Weitzman also notes that there is no reason to presume that lack of alimony might be compensated for by greater child support payments.
doi:10.2307/1599786 fatcat:sy4btrkfb5gqnewsqfhblibpzm