Vanderbilt Law Review


June Carbone

First Page



Divorce reform and gender roles are inextricably linked. When Lenore Weitzman chronicled the devastating consequences of divorce for most women, she described a legal system that, in an effort to be gender neutral in a formal sense, made no allowance for the domestic role women continue to perform. Herma Hill Kay, in reviewing Weitzman-inspired proposals to expand the scope of the financial awards made at divorce, nonetheless warned against encouraging "future couples entering marriage to make choices that will be economically disabling for women, thereby perpetuating their traditional financial dependence upon men and contributing to their inequality with men at divorce."

Feminist writers, led by Martha Fineman, decry the poverty of the existing debate, focusing as it does on woman either "as equal" or "as victim" without recognition of the possibility that women could per-form without penalty a role that differs from the male model of workforce participation. Despite the centrality of these concerns to any modern system of divorce, Ira Ellman sets forth what he terms The Theory of Alimony without acknowledging that the debate exists.