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Spotlight Podcast: Debunking the Alimony Myth

WHYY Newsworks explores this contentious subject that reports persists in NJ’s divorce-reform drive.

The idea that vengeful women are taking their ex-husbands to the cleaners goes way back, but it’s never been grounded in fact, according to a podcast and story by Jonathan Zimmerman on WHYY NewsWorks, an NJ Spotlight partner.

But this alimony myth, Zimmerman says, persists in New Jersey, where the divorce controversy centers on permanent or "lifetime" alimony, which reformers want to eliminate. State lawmakers are considering a bill to establish a blue-ribbon commission on divorce.

Zimerman debates the history of alimony with Maiken Scott on That’s History, a partnership between WHYY NewsWorks and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Listen to the extended interview.

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Jonathan Zimmerman is a historian with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and teaches history and education at New York University. He lives in Narberth. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory" (Yale University Press).

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