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Cross CurrentsFamily Law and Policy in the US and England$
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Sanford N. Katz, John Eekelaar, and Mavis MacLean

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.001.0001

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Post-divorce Financial Obligations

Post-divorce Financial Obligations

(p.405) 18 Post-divorce Financial Obligations
Cross Currents

John Eekelaar

Oxford University Press

Surveying the evolution of Western European family law from the early nineteenth century, Harry Willekens maintains that, despite surface national variations, there has been universal movement away from the pivotal role of legitimacy in determining parent-child relationships; from the marital and parental authority of husbands; from highly restrictive divorce; and from legal hostility to domestic cohabitation outside marriage. Mary Ann Glendon also remarks on ‘attenuation’ of the ‘ties that support’ in European and American families during the twentieth century, especially during the 1970s. The circle of family members owing each other support obligations narrowed; the former presumption that interspousal support obligations survive divorce was reversed; and, though child support obligations were retained after separation, their enforcement was feeble. Glendon then contrasted those events with the contemporaneous increase in security provided by employment, noting the growing importance of benefits (in particular, pensions) attached to specific employments. Individuals seemed to be becoming more bonded with their employment than with their marital partners. But Glendon did not see these new bonds as providing stable alternatives to those of the family.

Keywords:   Harry Willekens, Mary Ann Glendon, family law, legitimacy, divorce, marriage, cohabitation, child support, support obligations

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