Family law has become highly controversial in the last two decades. Child custody, child and spouse abuse, and surrogate motherhood are the issues most likely to capture the attention of the media. But these are not the
only troubling issues. The differences in economic impact of divorce upon men, women, and children have also become increasingly visible.
By the late 1980s half of all single parents in the United States lived below the poverty line, and 70 percent of these poor families were headed by divorced or separated women. The feminization of poverty has proceeded at such a pace that, if present trends continue, all of those below the poverty line in the year 2000 will be women and children. Even for many
who are not poor by official standards, the sudden drop in standard of living that often follows separation or divorce is extremely disruptive.
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