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Ards, Sheila D.; Darity, William A., Jr.; & Myers, Samuel L., Jr. (1998). "If It Shall Seem Just and Proper": The Effect of Race and Morals on Alimony and Child Support Appeals in the District of Columbia, 1950-1980. Journal of Family History, 23(4), 441-475.


This article tests the hypothesis that judicial arbitrariness dominated alimony or child support appeals in the pre-no-fault era by analyzing data on all alimony and child support appeals in the District of Columbia from 1950 through 1980. Censored regression analysis is used to isolate the impacts of race and morals grounds for divorce on changes in alimony and child support awards from trial to appeal. The results show large race effects but small morals effects. Judicial discretion—measured by unexplained gaps in awards—dominated relevant eco nomic factors in determining changes in alimony and child support awards during the pre-no-fault era.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family History


Ards, Sheila D.
Darity, William A., Jr.
Myers, Samuel L., Jr.