Inequality in Marital Liabilities: The Need for Equal Protection When Modifying the Necessaries Doctrine

This Note contends that the “primary/secondary” modification is unconstitutional because it ignores the husband’s equal protection rights while unlawfully stigmatizing women as dependent. Part I discusses how the growing independence of women has led courts to modify the common law doctrine. Part II develops the test that the Supreme Court would apply in judging the constitutionality of any modification of the doctrine. Part III applies this test to the “primary/secondary” modification and concludes that the modification is unconstitutional and, therefore, not a legitimate reformation of the common law necessaries doctrine.