Division of Marital Assets in High Asset Divorces

41 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Joni Hersch

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Jennifer Bennett Shinall

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: March 15, 2019

Abstract

Upon divorce, marital assets in most states are divided equitably, often with the underlying legal purpose of equalizing outcomes. To examine whether decisionmakers value economic considerations, such as opportunity cost, specialization, and bargaining power, we asked subjects to divide marital assets equitably between a breadwinning husband and non-breadwinning wife in a wealthy household. Subjects award less than 50 percent of assets to the wife, regardless of her education or the level of marital assets. Men award lower shares but, unlike women, award a larger share to a more educated wife. Equitable division can lead to unequal outcomes for wives who opt out of the labor force.

Keywords: divorce, equitable division, equality, gender

JEL Classification: J12, K36, D13

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni and Shinall, Jennifer Bennett, Division of Marital Assets in High Asset Divorces (March 15, 2019). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 19-09, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3353484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3353484

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
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615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

Jennifer Bennett Shinall

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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