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Family law experts report increase in women paying alimony

Many men in Alabama associate divorce with one thing -- alimony. Commonly referred to as spousal support, this post-divorce payment has long been shouldered by men, leaving many women with the impression that they cannot ever be ordered to pay their exes. Now, family law experts say this standard is changing.

Alimony payments help provide necessary financial stability to ex-spouses who either did not work during their marriage, or who earned significantly less than the main breadwinner. Historically, men tended to work while women took on child-rearing responsibilities, leaving women out of the workforce entirely or only working part time. Now, women are increasingly the primary wage earners in their households.

Over the past three years, 45 percent of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers members reported seeing an uptick in the number of women paying alimony. Perhaps even more surprising are the 54 percent of members who say they have noticed a growing number of women responsible for child support payments. This is a sharp reversal from just 20 years ago, when most men facing a divorce could feel certain that they would be responsible for these types of payments.

Alimony is often an important support for post-divorce life, especially for those individuals who need extra support to become financially self-supported. However, some Alabama women who are their households primary wage earners fail to understand that alimony is not a gender-specific payment and that they may possibly be directed to pay it. To avoid unexpected surprises regarding the potential of alimony, child support, and more, it is a good idea for soon-to-be divorcees to familiarize themselves with family law practices and how they might apply to their own situations.

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