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More women paying alimony and child support

Photo of Karen Lavin

Women's roles have been changing over the last few decades. More and more women in Illinois and throughout the United States are working outside of their homes. More women are entering professions and earning more than their male counterparts. For example, in the early 1980s, only one-third of medical degrees were earned by women. Today, men and woman earn medical degrees at an equal rate. Furthermore, the number of law degrees earned by women has doubled.

During this time, the divorce rate in the United States has stayed pretty much the same. Over the years, the divorce rate has hovered between 46 percent and 53 percent, meaning about half of all marriages end in divorce. However, as women's roles in society have changed, so has divorce, including child support and alimony payments.

Alimony is a payment from one former spouse to another former spouse. It is generally paid to the party that needs more financial support. Therefore, since men were typically the bread winners in the past, they were likely to end up responsible for paying alimony to their ex-wives.

According to a new study, 47 percent of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of women paying alimony over the last three years. The increased number of women in high-paying jobs means women are now much more likely to earn more than their spouses, and therefore, are more likely to owe support.

The same has been true with child support. Child support is money given to support the expenses of a couple's children. The study indicates that there has been a 56 percent increase in the number of women paying child support.

While there may have been a shift in who pays the support, one thing has not changed: the right of spouses to receive the support they need after a divorce. An experienced attorney can help either divorcing spouse establish and enforce both child support and alimony payments.

Source: Huffington Post, "Alimony: Women Increasingly Paying Alimony To Their Ex Husbands," Patricia Reaney, May 10, 2012.

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