New York Times: women are short-changed in divorces

This December 21, 2016 New York Times article is interesting for featuring the statement “Women have, historically, been short-changed in divorces.” The law professor who makes this assertion doesn’t make any attempt to explain why most divorce lawsuits are filed by women (see the classic Brinig and Allen paper referenced in “Causes of Divorce” as well as this statistical study of a Massachusetts courthouse where 72 percent of the cases were filed by women).

[Separately, I think the University of San Diego law professor is wrong about a prenup barring a woman, at least one whose fertility has not been exhausted, from recovering some of the value that a man realizes from a successful startup. Let’s stick with her home state of California. As explained in California Prenuptial Agreements, for example, a prenup cannot limit an adult’s right to profit from child support. Census 2014 data show that 94 of Californians collecting child support are women. If the female victim posited by the NYT author can have one or more children during the marriage she is on track to collect between 30 and 50 percent of her former husband’s future income (for 18 years) from all sources, regardless of the contents of a prenuptial agreement. (If she can find a man with a lot of intellectual property who won’t agree to marry her, there remains a profit opportunity via selling an abortion or out-of-wedlock child-bearing.)]

4 thoughts on “New York Times: women are short-changed in divorces

  1. Although the law professor doesn’t provide any evidence, she goes on to say,” A familiar pattern was that of a wife who supported her husband as he worked his way through law school or medical school by taking low-wage jobs with little opportunity, believing she was helping invest in their collective future. Once the marriage dissolved, though, the husband walked away with the fruits of their human capital”, as an example of how women were short changed.

    Notice she never says “most women”, just women, meaning 2 or more. Out of all divorces in history, at least 2 must have involved a male doctor/lawyer whose wife supported him when he was in school. But I have to say that while a few of my law school colleagues were married (not many) I didn’t know of any whose wives were supporting them. This must have gone on, but I doubt it was very common even among students in professional school, let alone the general population.

    I did know of one reverse case, although not involving divorce – my next door neighbor is a successful lawyer. His wife decided she wanted to be a lawyer too, so he paid for her to go to law school. She practiced for a short while and then the next time there was a recession she got laid off by her big firm. She then became a travel agent. If they had gotten divorced, would he have been entitled to credit for the cost of increasing her “human capital”?

  2. Phil,
    The New York Times has become the Alt-Left paper of record. Expecting anything remotely approaching responsible reporting or accuracy in journalism from them is foolish.
    I’m awaiting their announcement of media consolidation with MSNBC.

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