Family Law in the United States
International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed. Forthcoming)
15 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014
Date Written: May 15, 2014
Two long-term developments currently reshaping families and transforming family law: greater autonomy for women and growing economic inequality in Western societies. These changes have eroded the formerly near-universal acceptance of marriage as the only appropriate site for child-rearing. Growing inequality has created a menu of options in family formation that are importantly shaped by class. Today, marriages tend to occur much later in life, if at all. Some commentators suggest marriage has become a "status symbol," attainable only by those who have achieved both maturity and financial stability.
Keywords: family law, marriage, custody, divorce, inequality, economic class
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