Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Attorneys say more women are paying child support

Almost four decades ago, the Supreme Court made clear that there should be no gender bias in assigning spousal support. While only three percent of the 400,000 people who received spousal support in 2010 were men, experts believe that number will steadily increase in the coming years and this could greatly impact families in Massachusetts. In fact, 47 percent of 1,600-member American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say they have seen an increase in the number of women who now must pay alimony.

In the story of one divorced father of three, the dad is happy with a judge's decision to have the man's ex-wife pay spousal support. His family, his friends and even his ex-spouse do not see problems with the arrangement. Although he is in good shape financially, because of his partnership in a medical device company, his ex-wife earns considerably more as a surgeon. Because his wife's job is demanding, the man chose a career that was more flexible so he could look after their children.

In decades past, it maybe was awkward for a man to seek alimony from his ex-wife. But new norms have made it possible for women to pursue careers that allow them to become breadwinners and earn more than their husbands. The new family dynamic also allows more husbands to stay at home and take care of their children.

Spousal support is important for several reasons. It can help an ex-spouse start over while looking for employment or a different and perhaps better source of income. This is especially true for spouses who sacrificed their career and stayed at home while looking after their children and family affairs.

Divorce often creates feelings of spite, so coming to an agreement on spousal support can be difficult. In Massachusetts, ex-spouses who want to negotiate and settle alimony can do so with the help of a legal professional.

Source: Reuters, "More men get alimony from their ex-wives," Geoff Williams, Dec. 24, 2013

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