WHEN COUPLES PART: How the Legal System Can Work for You by Lawrence E. Kahn

WHEN COUPLES PART: How the Legal System Can Work for You

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This short, misleadingly-titled volume by a New York Family Court judge is principally about one thing: alimony. Starting with a brief treatment of the history of the alimony concept, Kahn moves rapidly through the standard current topics--""Marriage Today--A New Direction"" (vague generalities about the influence of our changing society and the women's movement on alimony), the possibility of alimony for husbands, ""palimony"" (the Marvin and Frampton cases), ""gaylimony,"" and premarital contracts (which Kahn favors). Theories aside, says Kahn, ""the most important decision you will have to make in getting a divorce is choosing the right lawyer""; but he offers only the most superficial advice on the various choices involved--peacemaker vs. killer, big firm vs. sole practitioner, specialist vs. generalist, youth vs. age. He's down on do-it-yourselfism, however (""Ending a marriage. . . requires more than the ability to repair a refrigerator""), so this is hardly a nuts-and-bolts manual. His advice on tracking down a spouse's hidden assets, for example, is simply to exercise ""persistence."" Redeeming features are few, although Kahn offers some insights on how no-fault divorce has affected alimony, outlines some ""creative"" approaches to make the system more fair (chiefly, decreasing or escalating payments over time, in some cases), and summarizes the tax implications of both alimony and child support. An appendix provides a cursory summary of the relevant law in all 50 states. Generally a rehash of familiar material, and of very limited use.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1981
Publisher: Watts