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Spousal Support and “The Feminine Mistake”: A Gift that Keeps on Giving


County law librarians work with a lot of family law attorneys and pro se litigants contending with family law issues (marriage, divorce, custody, support). Not a small percentage of them have questions about spousal support (and subsequent modification). If your practice (or your life) hasn’t been such that you keep up with the law on this subject on a regular basis, you’ll need to do some research in the primary sources (starting with your state’s “Digest,” usually), the secondary sources (e.g. treatises and periodicals), and in your state’s legal practice research resources.

(I highly recommend a West “Digest” Topic (e.g. Divorce or Husband and Wife) search for starters and make sure you read the Scope Notes.)

Lately, though, every time I hear a summary of the facts for these cases, I think of the book “The Feminine Mistake.”

The Feminine Mistake” is a book (not a state of mind or evolution), and no, it’s not the Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan. “The Feminine Mistake” is also not just for women. The lessons it contains are worth thinking about, by everyone, whether you agree with the author or not. (But I predict there will be a lot of “I told you so” responses in the author’s future – and mine. I told you so.)

Reviews and Commentary:

1) Huffington Post, March 2007 (author speaks out)

2) Salon, April 2007, by Joan Walsh

3) Amazon reviews

4) For more reviews and commentary, Google (or other search engine of your choice) these words: feminine mistake book (and limit your search to articles in the past year to see how the book has “aged.”)

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