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More women paying spousal support to ex-husbands

The concept of alimony came from the idea that a husband has a duty to his wife to support her financially if the two get divorced. Even recently, modern society has this same point of view, holding one spouse - typically the husband - responsible for paying alimony to the ex-wife.

But now, the number of women ordered to pay spousal support to their ex-husbands is increasing. There are a number of factors that is believed to have attributed to this rise: gender equality and increased income for women.

Statistically, more than 30 percent of married women have a higher income than their husbands. Historically, men have been the "bread winner" of the family. But as more women establish themselves in the workplace, the role of the "bread winner" has shifted substantially.

Another factor that contributes to the income gap could be the poor economy. As more individuals in general are losing their jobs, families begin relying on the income of one individual, sometimes the mother.

Even the courts could be contributing to this shift in alimony payments. There are a number of more gender neutral factors that courts use to determine which spouse will receive alimony, including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Occupation
  • Education
  • Age of children
  • Relative income

While the number of women earning more than their husbands is indeed growing and more women are paying alimony than in the past, the number of women paying spousal support compared to men is still relatively infrequent. But could this change with time?

In any divorce proceeding where spousal support is a contested issue, both sides need to understand the implications of alimony and how it can affect themselves and their children long-term.

Source: Huffington Post: Divorce online, "Women Increasingly Pay Alimony," Lili A. Vasileff, 09 June 2011

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