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Ellman to speak at Columbia University conference

February 11, 2011

Professor Ira Ellman will speak at a conference hosted by Columbia University titled, “Marriage at a Crossroads,” on Feb. 25.

Ellman will focus on his article entitled, “Lay Intuitions About Family Obligations: the Relationship between Alimony and Child Support.” The article addresses the effect of marital status, married or not married, and the duration a relationship has when determining alimony and child support.

“The law does not take marriage into account in determining the amount of child support one parent must pay the other. Nor does it take into account the duration of the relationship between the parents. Other things being equal, the law calls for the same child support award if the separation occurs after 12 years of marriage or one day of cohabitation. At the same time, current American law makes a sharp distinction between married and unmarried partners with respect to alimony claims: alimony claims are, for the most part, excluded entirely if the separating partners had not married. These rules are inevitably in tension because a large portion of any household’s expenditures are on shared consumption items, such as rent and utilities,” according to the article’s abstract.

To read the entire article, click here.

Ellman’s current scholarly projects include an empirical investigation into how people make judgments about appropriate legal rules and a book for Oxford University Press about the difficulties inherent in implementing family policy through family law. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Child and Youth Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law