Two billion dollars more, Doctor Katzoff said in an interview, are paid out every year to lawyers, courts and individuals active in “ironing out” marriage difficulties —which are not “ironed out” at all, except superficially.
~ Calls Laws “Barbaric” ~
“Alimony often amounts to holdups with the aid of barbaric laws,” declared Doctor Katzoff, medical director and consulting psychiatrist of the San Francisco Institute of Human Relations.
“It will be well for the judges of some of our more backward states— New York and Illinois, for example to – read up on the origin and history of alimony.
“I mention New York and Illinois because particularly in both of those states, in Long Island, N. Y.” and Cook county, Ill., alimony jails are maintained.
~ Started in England ~
Alimony started in the church courts of England, hundreds of years ago Katzoff said. These ecclesiastical tribunals recognized the right of the wife, in certain cases to leave her husband in order to keep her from becoming a charge of the parish, the church courts decreed that her husband should provide for her support.
This agreement said Katzoff, was fair because of the limited nature of the divorce forbidding remarriage, the fact that women then were unable to earn their own living; and because of other circumstances, including the law which unconditionally forfeited to the husband all property belonging to the wife at the time of marriage.
“The original justification for granting alimony now, however, in large measure has been undermined,” declared Katzoff.
[“Alimony Business Says - In United States Billion Dollars A Year Paid Out In Alimony. But Only Fraction Of It Justifiable, Says Expert.” Syndicated (AP), Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wi.), Apr. 17, 1939, p. 10]