Berkeley Program in Law and Economics
ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR REGULATING MARITAL DISSOLUTIONS IN RESPONSE TO NEW FAMILY STRUCTURES
- Author(s): Artigot Golobardes, Mireia
- et al.
During the second half of the twentieth century family structures have changed significantly in western countries: individuals marry later in their lives once they have achieved a certain level of education and of professional stability, the level of education among men and women has come significantly closer, women’s participation in the labor market has significantly increased, families are increasingly supported by two incomes in the household, marriage rates have dropped, new family models have appeared and divorce rates have increased. These social changes have modified family roles and the position and function of each spouse within the marriage. At the same time and directly related to the new family structures, family property, its composition and title have also experienced important modifications.Despite of this remarkable evolution in family structures and family property, family law of most western countries does not reflect the new reality when regulating marital crises, particularly regarding dissolutions of the marital economic regimes. This paper provides an overview of the basic highlights of family law in Western countries – Europe and the United States – and offers arguments to challenge current family law principles in marital dissolutions while presenting economic arguments that should be taken into account in marital dissolutions in light of the new family realities.