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More Divorced Women Are Paying Child Support, Alimony

Divorce attorneys are seeing a growing number of women pay alimony and child support to former male spouses in California and across the country. The trend represents thousands of women paying their former husbands in a reversal of traditional divorce roles.

According a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, half of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of divorced women paying child support and alimony, which is also known as spousal support.

Why Are More Women Paying?

The reasons for this shift reflect broad changes in American society over the last few decades. More women are working, and more of these women are obtaining professional degrees, landing high-paying jobs and taking management positions. In many cases, female spouses are now the primary breadwinners. The increase in female doctors, lawyers and other professionals is striking. Just 30 years ago, women made up a very small percentage of classes at professional schools.

Child Support and Alimony in California

Child support and alimony outcomes under California law reflect these changes. In a separation or divorce, courts may order one spouse to pay the other a monthly amount for spousal support according to a list of statutory factors.

Judges have wide latitude in determining what factors are used to determine spousal support, but typically include:

  • The age and health of each partner
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living enjoyed by each partner during the marriage
  • The earnings potential and ability of each partner to pay the other to maintain that standard of living
  • Responsibility for raising any children
  • The assets, debts and property from the marriage

Additional factors include whether one spouse helped the other to obtain education, training or professional licenses and instances of domestic violence.

To determine earning capacity, the court looks at each partner's marketable skills, ability to gain additional skills and the history of unemployment and domestic responsibilities during the marriage.

Those considering a divorce or in the middle of the divorce process should contact an experienced attorney to discuss their legal options and how to improve the outcome of the divorce.

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