After divorce, more ex-wives pay alimony and child support
More and more women are paying alimony or child support to their ex-husbands after divorce, according to a Reuters report. The trend challenges long-held assumptions about gender roles and the financial impact of divorce on husbands and wives.
In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, nearly half (47 percent) of divorce lawyers say they have seen an increase in the number of women paying alimony to their ex-husbands in recent years. Even more (56 percent) say they have seen an increase in the number of women paying child support.
According to AAMA President Adam Abromowitz, the changes are indicative of the improving financial status of women in America, who are now the primary breadwinners in a growing number of families. Still, despite the positive societal implications of the trend, many women are displeased at the prospect of paying spousal maintenance or child support to their ex-husbands, Abromowitz told Reuters.
Men receive alimony for same reasons as women
The Wall Street Journal has also taken notice of the trend, noting that many men today are receiving spousal support for the same reasons that women traditionally have.
Men who receive alimony payments from their ex-wives often say they have sacrificed career opportunities for the sake of their children or ex-spouses, foregoing higher income potential for the sake of their families. When divorce enters the picture, these men may not have sufficient income potential to provide for themselves or their children, thus creating the need for alimony and child support.
Texas alimony law limits payments
Compared to other states, Texas has some of the nation’s more restrictive alimony laws. In fact, under Texas law, there is a rebuttable presumption against awarding spousal support in any divorce case. This means that judges in Texas family court default against awarding alimony, and a spouse seeking alimony in Texas must prove that such an award is necessary.
Texas law also applies other restrictions on a person’s ability to receive spousal support after divorce. As a baseline matter, alimony is typically available only if the couple was married for ten years or more. Furthermore, the spouse seeking post-divorce maintenance must establish that he or she is unable to work, either as a result of inadequate job skills or because of a need to care for a disabled child. Finally, even if a Texas court does award alimony, state law limits the amount and duration of the payments that may be required.
Child support in Texas
Unlike spousal maintenance, Texas family courts routinely order ex-spouses to pay child support, and these payments are determined according to a different set of criteria. The factors that typically affect a parent’s child support obligations in Texas include the number of children and the details of the child custody arrangement involved, as well as the parent’s income and other financial obligations. Child support payments in Texas are usually determined as a percentage of the paying parent’s income, in addition to certain health care costs.
Get help from a lawyer
Texas parents who are considering divorce should speak with a knowledgeable divorce and family law attorney to learn about their rights and legal options regarding alimony and child support. An attorney with extensive knowledge of Texas divorce law can help divorcing spouses protect their interests and negotiate on their behalf for a divorce agreement that meets their needs and the needs of their children.