Cynthia Lee Starnes

Cynthia Lee Starnes
[Hi-Res Photo]
Professor of Law Emerita
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 411
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    Professor Starnes’ unique line of scholarship lies at the intersection of family law, partnership law, and feminist theory. Her critiques of current law and reform proposals have provoked widespread commentary. Professor Starnes has presented her scholarship in both international and national fora, and has worked with grass roots community groups dedicated to law reform. Her publications include articles in the University of Chicago Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, Iowa Law Review, and Indiana Law Journal.

    Professor Starnes has taught family law to students abroad, and commercial law to judges at the National Judicial College. A long-term member of the MSU Law faculty, she co-chairs the Child and Family Advocacy certificate program, is co-advisor of the Family Law focus area, and serves as faculty advisor to the Family Law Society. Professor Starnes was named an MSU Outreach and Engagement Senior Fellow for her scholarly work toward community change, and was appointed in 2006 as one of six Computer Assisted Legal Instruction Fellows in Family Law.

  • Degrees

    LL.M., Columbia University School of Law, 1989; J.D., cum laude, Indiana University School of Law, 1983; B.S., with High Honors, Michigan State University, 1973

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    Family Law: Marriage & Divorce
    (Formerly Family Law I: Marriage & Divorce) This course examines laws governing entry into marriage, access to divorce, the economics of divorce (property distribution, alimony and child support), child custody, premarital agreements, and cohabitation. Students may take Family Law: Marriage & Divorce and Family Law: Child, Family, and State in any order or at the same time.

    Secured Transactions
    (Formerly DCL 240) Covers the process of financing the sale of goods, the secured transaction under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, including creation, perfection, priority of security interests in personal property and default procedures.

  • Bar Admission(s)


  • Publications

    Law Faculty Repository »

    SSRN Author Page »


    The Marriage Buyout: The Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law (NYU Press, 2014).

    Uniform Commercial Code Forms with Practice Comments, Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated, Cynthia Lee Starnes, ed., Thomson/West (Volumes 1 - 4 (3d ed.) and Supplements.

    Law Review Articles

    Mothers, Myths and the Law of Divorce, (forthcoming William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law)

    One More Time: Alimony, Intuition, and the Remarriage-Termination Rule, 81 Ind. L.J. 971 Indiana Law Journal Summer, 2006

    Mothers as Suckers: Pity, Partnership, and Divorce Discourse, 90 Iowa L. Rev. 1513 Iowa Law Review April, 2005

    Swords in the Hands of Babes: Rethinking Custody Interviews after Troxel, 2003 Wisconsin Law Review 115

    Victims, Breeders, Joy, and Math: First Thoughts on Compensatory Spousal Payments Under the Principles, 8 Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy 137 (2001) (by invitation)

    Bad News Should Travel Fast; Hot Checks, Tardy Banks and the Babysitter’s Rude Surprise, 25 New York University Review of Law and Social Change 539 (2000)

    Survey of Contracts in the Sixth Circuit, 1999 Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University Law Review 235 (1999)

    Reflections on Betty Crocker, Soccer Mom, and Divorce: A Message From Detergent Manufacturers, 1997 Wisconsin Law Review 285 (1997)

    Applications of a Contemporary Partnership Model for Divorce, 8 Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law 107 (1993)

    Divorce and the Displaced Homemaker: A Discourse on Playing with Dolls, Partnership Buyouts and Dissociation under No-Fault, 60 University of Chicago Law Review 67 (1993)

    U.C.C. Section 9-504 Sales by Junior Secured Parties: Is a Senior Party Entitled to Notice and Proceeds? 52 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 563 (1991)

    Other Publications

    1991 Supplement to Cases on Commercial Law by E.A. Farnsworth & J. Honnold (with E.A. Farnsworth) (4th ed., 1985)

    Junior Creditor Sales, 6 Commercial Damages Reporter 217 (1991)

    1990 S upplement to Cases on Commercial Law by E.A. Farnsworth & J. Honnold (with E.A. Farnsworth) (4th ed., 1985)

    Book Review

    Review of D. Rhode’s Justice and Gender (1989) 14 Legal Studies Forum 217 (1990)