Families Now: What We Don’t Know Is Hurting Us

Almost twenty years ago, the Hofstra Law Review published Marriage, Divorce, and the Family: A Cautionary Tale. It was an adaptation of a speech I made as the Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professorship Lecturer for 1992 to 93. The theme of the published piece was that marrying, divorcing, and having children, in or out of wedlock, was dangerous to women, leaving them at risk of poverty and financial dependence on government, men, or others. The piece questioned the usefulness of scholarly debate or legal action to help matters and suggested that women themselves, armed with facts instead of myths, needed to take precautions to minimize the dangers of their own seemingly immutable acts. It nevertheless included a “wish list” of proposed legal reforms “to correct the wrong lessons” the law proclaimed and suggested that a massive advertising campaign waged through the media might be the most effective way to teach women what they needed to learn. I welcome the opportunity to revisit that ground.

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