Mothers, Myths, and the Law of Divorce: One More Feminist Case for Partnership
32 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2010
Date Written: 2006
Family law's model of marriage as a companionate, egalitarian relationship in which spouses make equal or similar contributions to work and home does not reflect the reality of many marriages. The attractiveness of this simplistic model of equality lies partly in three supporting mother myths: mothering just happens, mothering is free, and mothering is for babies. Innocent as they may seem, these myths pose great danger for divorcing mothers by creating fictional baselines of appropriate behavior against which real mothers are judged. While the ALI has taken steps toward slaying portions of these myths, their ultimate demise depends on abandonment of the law's egalitarian model of marriage and adoption of a model that distinguishes between status and contribution. Such a model lies in the gender-neutral, equality-based principles and rules of partnership.
Keywords: Myths, mothers, caretaking, divorce, partnership, marriage
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