Alimony and child support in the past has been traditionally seen as something that men pay to their ex-wives. In this traditional role, women were expected to stay at home and take care of the children, and thus needed to be financially supported after a divorce. However, with gender equality becoming more widespread in Massachusetts and elsewhere, alimony and child support are now awarded to the husband in many cases.
A nationwide study shows that divorce lawyers across the United States, including in Massachusetts, have seen an increase of women who pay alimony or child support to their former husbands. Around 56 percent of divorce lawyers report that they’ve seen more women paying child support and 47 percent report a higher rate of women who pay alimony to their former husbands.
The reason behind this shift is simple: as women take over the financial responsibilities that were once the sole responsibility of men, courts are holding them to the same responsibilities that husbands alone used to face. This is especially true as many women are able to find higher paying jobs than their husbands in this bad economy.
As can be imagined, not all women are happy about having to pay either alimony or child support. In several high-profile cases, several women had bitter disputes in divorce courts over this matter. However, even though many women can feel unfairly treated as they are ordered to pay alimony and child support, this shows a huge step for gender equality has happened.
As gender equality becomes more widespread, it is hoped that soon all family law courts will be gender neutral in their decisions.
Source: KCPQ-LTV, “Reversal of fortune? More women paying alimony, child support to ex-husbands,” May 11, 2012