Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Unilateral divorce vs. child custody and child support in the U.S.

González-Val, Rafael and Marcén, Miriam (2011): Unilateral divorce vs. child custody and child support in the U.S.

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
PDF
MPRA_paper_32777.pdf

Download (243Kb) | Preview

Abstract

This paper explores the response of the divorce rate to law reforms introducing unilateral divorce after controlling for law reforms concerning the aftermath of divorce, which are omitted from most previous studies. We introduce two main policy changes that have swept the US since the late 1970s: the approval of the joint custody regime and the Child Support Enforcement program. Because those reforms affect divorce decisions by counteracting the reallocation of property rights generated by the unilateral divorce procedure and by increasing the expected financial costs of divorce, it is arguable that their omissions might obscure the impact of unilateral divorce reforms on divorce rates. After allowing for changes in laws concerning the aftermath of divorce, we find that the positive impact of unilateral divorce reforms on divorce rates does not vanish over time, suggesting that the Coase theorem may not apply to changes in divorce laws. Supplemental analysis, developed to examine the frequency of permanent shocks in US divorce rates, indicates that the positive permanent changes in divorce rates can be associated with the implementation of unilateral divorce reforms and that the negative permanent changes can be related to the law reforms concerning living arrangements in the aftermath of divorce. This seems to confirm the important role of these policies in the evolution of divorce rates.

Available Versions of this Item

UB_LMU-Logo
MPRA is a RePEc service hosted by
the Munich University Library in Germany.