Concepts of Fairness in Marriage and Divorce

Paechter, Carrie F.. 2013. Concepts of Fairness in Marriage and Divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 54(6), pp. 458-475. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Discourses of fairness are bound up with Western ideals of companionate marriage. They are also central to the ways people talk about their approaches to divorce, especially in relation to the division of property and finances. How fairness is understood within marriage, however, is gendered, with husbands more likely to take equity-based and wives equality-based approaches. In this paper I discuss previous research on how fairness is understood within marriage, and compare this with data from a study of people going through divorce proceedings in England and Wales. I suggest that some, but not all, understandings about fairness are carried over from marriage into divorce, and note that in many ways English and Welsh divorce law supports a particular conception of fairness that redresses objectively unfair divisions of labour within the marital relationship.

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Identification Number (DOI):


divorce marriage fairness sharing equality equity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


15 August 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Sep 2013 07:34

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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