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More women on hook for child and spousal support

More women in Maryland and across the U.S. are paying alimony and child support, according to a new survey of divorce lawyers. The survey was conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Of the lawyers who participated in the study, 45 percent said they had witnessed an increase in the number of women paying spousal support over the last three years, while 54 percent said they had seen a spike in the number of women paying child support. This is because more women are the primary breadwinners in their marriages than ever before. In previous decades, men would typically earn more money than women and, therefore, be responsible for paying spousal and child support in the event of a divorce. In fact, men were the only ones legally required to pay spousal support until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that alimony should be gender-neutral.

A Pew Research study found that women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American families, and experts say the earnings of women will continue to rise. This means more and more women will find themselves on the hook for support in the future. For now, however, many women are shocked when they learn that they have to pay support to their ex-husbands. Making matters worse, the new Republican tax law will eliminate tax deductions for alimony payments beginning in 2019. The good news is that lifelong support is losing favor with judges. It is now commonly expected that all non-disabled adults should be able to support themselves after a period of time.

Spouses facing the end of their marriage may find it beneficial to consult with a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to represent a client's interests during divorce negotiations and arrange favorable agreements for child support, spousal support and more.

Source: Moneyish, "More women are now paying alimony and child support," Meera Jagannathan, May 17, 2018

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