NOTE: You Get What You Pay For: A New Feminist Proposal for Allocating Marital Property upon Divorce Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2003 The Georgetown University
 The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law

NOTE: You Get What You Pay For: A New Feminist Proposal for Allocating Marital Property upon Divorce

Summer, 2003

4 Geo. J. Gender & L. 889





This paper introduces a new feminist proposal ("The Plan") for allocating marital property 1 upon divorce. To encourage women to attain and maintain economic and psychological independence before, during, and after marriage, marital property should, upon divorce, be divided proportionately based on the amount of economic contribution made to its acquisition (i.e., "he/she who earns it, owns it"). Additionally, under The Plan, the practice of awarding alimony shall cease. The Plan cannot successfully fulfill its aim without advocating certain paradigm shifts. The concepts of ideal worker and paradigmatic parent must be redefined for The Plan to be in line with feminist jurisprudence and to help, rather than hurt, women.

The paper begins by setting forth the terms of The Plan. Part I examines how current marital property distribution schemas encourage women's financial dependence on men and fail women who divorce, resulting in their financial devastation. Part I also acknowledges the class and race-based schisms in the Feminist Movement and appeals to feminists to develop an agenda that incorporates the needs of all women, not merely wealthy, white, heterosexual women. Part II reveals the fallacy of alimony and uncovers the shortcomings, for women, of equal and equitable property schemas for allocating marital property upon divorce. Part II also details the precarious state of the marital contract in the age of no-fault divorce and discusses the deleterious effects of no-fault divorce on women. Part III explores the benefits accruing to women who engage in market labor ...
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