Document Type


Publication Date

February 2007


This paper examines how U.S. child support policy validates traditional divisions of labor and thereby hinders individual attempts to achieve an acceptable work/family balance. It argues that by using the household as the relevant unit of measurement for child support purposes, family law doctrine legitimates the specialization contracts that arise within households. These specialization contracts, used most extensively in wealthy, elite households, undermine attempts to distribute caretaking and provider roles more equally between parents. The article suggest that by dispensing with the household as the relevant unit of measurement and treating all parents individually, each with a responsibility to caretake and provide, the law could transform parental arrangements at the elite level, which would likely have significant positive repercussions for non-elite parents as well.

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Family Law Commons