Year of Publication:2003
This study examines how the widespread adoption of unilateral divorce influenced the prevalence of lethal spousal violence in the United States. These evaluations are based on fixed-effects specifications for spousal homicide counts from an annual panel of U.S. states from 1968 to 1978. The results indicate that unrestricted unilateral divorce laws had small and statistically insignificant effects on the amount of lethal spousal violence directed against wives. However, the easy access to divorce created by such laws increased spousal homicides of husbands by approximately 21%. These increases were concentrated in states where the division of marital property favored husbands.