Mothers as Suckers: Pity, Partnership, and Divorce Discourse
22 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2005
Aiming to protect divorcing mothers from the market costs of caretaking, the American Law Institute has proposed a new alimony model based on loss sharing. Good intentions notwithstanding, the Institute's rationale and vocabulary perpetuate a dispiriting view of mothers as suckers, economically incapacitated by their unpaid family labor. A far better reform discourse lies in the gender-neutral language and egalitarian principles of partnership. In this Article, Professor Starnes offers an enriched partnership model that complements the marital partnership model she earlier proposed. This new model provides a compelling rationale for income sharing during the minority of marital children, even as it casts mothers as full stakeholders in marriage, equal rather than subservient, empowered rather than incapacitated, respected rather than pitied.
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