Marriage and divorce have changed significantly in recent years. This is partially due to how traditional gender roles have changed over time. In Massachusetts and across the country, it is becoming more common for women to be the family breadwinners. This has had an noticeable effect on divorce as well. More and more women are paying alimony and child support to their ex-spouses rather than receiving the payments.
In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that spousal support must be gender-neutral. Since then alimony has continued to change. While some states still support the idea of lifelong support payments, or payments that continue at least until the ex-spouse receiving payments remarries, many others have moved away from that approach. However, many people cling to traditional concepts of divorce and alimony.
Many women are surprised by the fact that they may be required to pay alimony. It seems that many women are still raised to believe that it is them who will be taken care of and that, in the event of a divorce, they will not be the ones to pay alimony. Others resent the idea that they will be funding the lifestyles of their ex-spouses’ new girlfriends.
The percentage of women paying alimony and child support is still lower than the number of men, and the percentage of men receiving those payments is lower still. However, those numbers are continuously changing and growing. Anyone in Massachusetts who is considering a divorce may wish to speak with an attorney. It may also be possible for an attorney to help a divorced spouse seek a formal modification of an existing court order for alimony if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a reduction in payments.