As more women become breadwinners for their families, a growing number are paying alimony and child support following a divorce. In a new report by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 54 percent of 1,650 attorneys surveyed saw an increase in women paying child support, while 45 percent noted that more women were paying alimony during the past three years.

The survey results reflect today’s trend toward two-income households, and also families where the mother is the primary source of support. “In 1960, just 11% of households with children under 18 had mothers who were the breadwinner,” according to a Pew Research Center report. “In 2013, moms were the primary provider in a record 40% of families” – or four out of 10.

Women providing spousal support is not new. In 1979, the United States Supreme Court ruled that alimony should be gender-neutral, noted an article in But states have shifted over the years away from lifelong support, with the expectation that the spouse receiving alimony or child support will acquire sufficient training to get back into the workforce.

The AAML report noted that, while gender wage equity is welcome, the shift toward women paying alimony might be difficult for some to grasp. “While men have almost always expected to pay alimony, many women still have a very difficult time accepting that this financial obligation might fall to them," said current AAML president Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich. "Unlike with previous generations, there are now many more two income households with parents who serve as equals in taking care of the home and raising the children.”

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