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                                       Feminis F/{oYeryienfl
                                             il          Gpenecl
                                                          ffiox'    '., .:                                                            '" '
                                                . :.t.'
                                  sy cErrsrE DIJRANT                            .. . . by getting rid of the concept

                                   Lo3An9€,rrTimrr Sarvica-              i                                           ,.                                         . Brit even in the untikelv
                                                                                 of J'ault, some attorneys say, ,                                                event she could get a job
                 ,                  There lvas a itme when              :                                                                                       within tlree months. it al-
                                populardivorce folktoretold               .      lnw took qtDay the uomo,n's                                                    most certainly wouldn't pay
                                of ex-wives strolling off to                                                                                                    $35,000a year, her lawyer,.
                                the Riviera.with whbpping                       ernly real equalizer.
                                                                                                                                                                Martin Pachter, said. So,
                                divorce SettlemenF wfrife          .                                                                                            even though she got what
                                their ex.husbands              were trun- many more setttem€nts                      than homemakingand helplnghus.             could be termed a ,,S0-S0"
                                dled off to nearbypoor hous_ previous divorce proceed- bands with their careers.                                                settlement,Pachter said. she
                               es.                                                rngs.                                                                         really didn't make out is well
                                                                               ' '-. But by getting                                                                      as her husband.
                                   Today, at l€ast in divorce                                              rid of the           UNDER TtlE new law,
                 ,             court circles,.the talk has conceptof fault. some attor- which does not distinguish
                   "           changed                    .. ,. .t : , .:' neys say, law took away the between wives,and husblnds                                           "EARMNCibitity, at teast;i
                                                                               , woman's only real equalizer. (they                                                    'to me,is themost,important
                           I     . I t l s ' n o w t h e w i l , e sw h o                                                            afe calledspouses),         the-                           'corrple  li
                              are ttr r'ictlms - toiscd out                          Until a few years ago.most court usually puts a limita.                            communityasset a                  l',i
               .                                                                                                                                                        can have," said Dorothv
              I               into ihe cotd rvithout ie- women could expectalimony tion on tbe numberof yearsa                                                                                            l;';-
                                                                                  until death or r'emarriage. spouse can receive support Davis. one of the attorneys                                      f!
                       - , time t0 acquireeither                                                                              payments.                                 that'helped design the new ;
                                                                     rvhile. even if they had only beln                                                                 larv.                              I
                              their. husbandstrot off to                         married a few years.                           The cburt considers du; -                                    r,
                                                                                                                                                            the                                        :l
              .              nerv lives on ..S0.S0"propui                                                                    ration of the marriage and
                         .. ty settlements                                       " "The courts and the law
                                                       that reilly-are wcre necessarily                                                                                    "There arq very few teal I
                             more than equal.                                                             concerned the'ability of the spouserc
                                                                                                                    'and suppor.thimself or,herself.                   assets ilr the general middle I -
                                                                             l with determiningfault                                                                   classfamily. peoplearen't ac- | i
                                                                                 then administerin! punish-                    Some court officials sav .              cumulating   propertyfor their I
                                 SOIIE CALL it .,thelibera. ment
                      '. tion backlash                                                     in t the form of                  they will consider       argumenti        old age any more. Husbands :
                                                      in the courts." alimony,"said Harry Fain.a
                            Ornnrs':just                                                                                     of how the marriagJhas di: ' don't worry about acquiring
                                                    talk of swinging. prominert divorce attorney                                                                       property because jobs bte
                            pendulumsbut both attor-. and one'ofthe framers                                                  minished spouse's
                                                                                                                                        a               ability to
                                                                                                       '.       of thl       support h.imselfor herself.               more secure."                 I
                            neysand famill' law court of- new legislationr                                                                                                                           a
                            f i c i a l sa g r e et h a t t h e ' c h a n g e                                                  But critics said there also               ..Thus.with little communi.
                        , sprangfrom a pandora's                      box          (THE                                      are abuses under, the new ty pioperty, the middle or
                                                                                           OLD taw saii if vou
                           opened lhe feminislmove-
                                          by                                    are guilty you lose mor'e of i. system.                                               lower-income    divorceeoften
                           ment.                                                                                                                                      flnds herself rvith no option-
                                            : .I                                the communityproperty.'.
                                                                                                                                                                      but to go ori welfare, accord-
                           . As femirrists             begana.sking                So under the old systemi .                  FOR EXAMPLE, ope law-' . Ing to
                                                                                                                                                                               RianeEisler,a feminist
                          r o r e q u a lo p p o r t u n i t ye q u a l
                                                                   ,                                                        yer said. after 14 ydars of
                                                                               women got more than 50 per                                                             lawyer.
                          p a y a n de q u a l ' r e s p o n i i b i l i i i e s
                                                                               cent of the communityassets rnarriageand one child about
                          and more .and more women
                                                                               because. most cases,they 9 yearSold, a couplefiled for
                                                                                            in                                                                            For upper-middle class
                      . enteredthe job rnarket.the
                                                                               rvereconsidered innocent dissolution,
                                                                                                      the                                   The husband       had lvom'en,no.fault is a psycho..
                         courts began taking rvomen party.                                                                  an annual salary of $35,000. logical
                         at .theirrvord by passing                    out                                                                                                       trauma, Ms.' Eisler
                                                                                                                            The rvife had held onlv, said.
                         "50-50" dir.prcesittlements.                              Attorneys    say thissituation spofadic                                                    "She is. not going to
                                         rl                                   led to abuses somewomen attemptedto start                   lobs. She hai'. live as well as her mommy
                               Hower.e.r,                                                        by                                                  a business, told her and if the divorcl
                         ,..                       critics say these who usedalimony
                         l|Deratedsett.lements.'are                                                    as a sort of bur it had faited.
                                                                              permanenf pension that                                                                  wasnlt her idea - and verv'
                         being given to t,.omenw.ho
                                                                              allowed them the luxury of                      After a trial. the court di- often it wasn't - she is dev-
                        are.not completelyliherated
                                                                              never 'having to support. vided- community property astatedand rvill never recov-
                        a n d a r e t h e r e f o r e n f a i r ..
                                                          u                   themselves.                                  equallyand awarded-the            rvifL er.':
                             The.     CaliforniaFamily Law                                                               , three monthsof spousal            sup- 17
                         .                                                        But, say fenninists, also port. The court
                        Act that took tffect in Janu-                                                                                                 said tt. I
                                                                              provideda meansof support- lvoman leas young,
                        ary of. 197fi an4 ch;ingedrli-                                                                                                   attrac- I
                       v o r c e st n t o d i s s o l u t i o na n d for many more rvomenwho trve and there rvere lots of I
                       a l i r n . o ni t ' t os p o u s as u p p o r t . h a d n e v e r b e e n i n t h e i o b , j o b sa v a i l a b l e . l l s h en e e d e d .
                                          n                   l                                                                              A                      I
                       e , s t a b l r s h e d e c o . n c e po f            m a r k e ta n d r v h oh a d n o s a l e - the court reasoned,          rvasrime I
                                                 th                   t
                       n , o . f a u ld i r - o r c pT h i s m e a n t a b l e s k i l l s a f t e r y e a r s . o f , , t o g e r o n e . i
                                         t              .
                       t h e c o u r t n o l o n g e ri s c o n . I                                                                                             J. I
                       cernedr.vithrr,,ho               committed
                      rr,ha1        qsiel'ex._s and tvho
                      r v a Sb l a r n e l e s s .                  :                                                                                                             UMDA 03488