More Women Pay Alimony as Gender Roles Shift

Libby Kane

What do the nuclear family and the glass ceiling have in common?

They’re both on their way out in the United States.

The latest data that speaks to this is the fact that more women are paying alimony and child support than ever before.

According to Reuters, over half of divorce lawyers are seeing more mothers paying child support in the last three years, and nearly half of the lawyers have noticed more moms paying alimony.

Somewhat hilariously, a lawyer quoted in Reuters says, “We see women who are every bit as angry as their male counterparts, maybe more so, when they are confronted with the concept of paying spousal support to a man.”

Imagine that.

He does redeem himself, however, by both observing that women are often the family breadwinners and acknowledging: “The glass ceiling has been pierced and more and more women have taken over the financial responsibilities and have been saddled with them as well. It is a fact of the way our society has evolved over the last number of years.”

This seems like the perfect time for a quote from Ben Parker*: With great power comes great responsibility. While we so often balk at the barriers—glass or otherwise—impeding our professional progress, we would do well to keep in mind that our evolving role in society has implications beyond the workplace. Like with divorce, for example.

That’s not to say we should stop striving, though. It’s just to say that as we change things, we had better be prepared for things to change.

*Peter Parker’s uncle, people. Spiderman!

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  • TB and BlueCollarWorkman

    I guess pushing up and away the glass ceililng certainly does bring other side effects with it. With more money and responsibilty comes having to pay more in a divorce. It makes some sense!

  • Nswanlv

    How long do you think the current alimony/child support set up will last once husbands leaving wives on a whim, taking the children as though they were deeded to him, and getting paid in perpetuity as a lovely parting gift, becomes anything close to the norm?

    • Tjgarr859

      In a nano second. Years ago I actually heard an interview with the broadcaster Joan London. She was a very well paid news anchor and her husband was a contractor who did well, but was the primary care giver. She was apying huge alimoney to him and she was carrying on about why that should be fair a man “profit” from her hard work. It was halarious…..

      • Bashedin

        My best friend’s wife was cheating on him with his own cousin. He filed for divorce and was rewarded by paying her alimony the rest of his life. The courts could care less……….AND he lost his job in the process when his company went bankrupt. $2,000/ month = his unemployment. He fell behind and she appeared in court herself demanding he be arrested. For what? Being financially and emotionally destroyed? And the justice system allows woman to do this ALL THE TIME! In most nasty divorces most men just give up. Give her everything and walk…….Oprah would have a stroke and go bankrupt if the field were really equal. Nothing to cry about…………I would NEVER get married again! It’s rigged…….

  • Kat Berghage

    What about the word “Equality” don’t these women get? Of course, sometimes it sucks to be treated equally, as in this case, when you are the one paying, but isn’t that just too bad. Welcome to the world you wanted, Ladies. Remember this next time you sniff in derision at us Stay-at-home moms. Karma, gotta love it.

    • terrilynnmerritts

      I am a longtime career mom as was my wonderful mother and my fabulous mother-in-law. My mom was a business owner. I don’t think equality has anything to do with alimony. I oppose it for either gender. It sounds like you have some inner bitterness and inferiority complex because you are a stay-at-home wife who doesn’t contribute to the economy and want to see working moms punished to make you feel better about your choices. My husband and I are equal partners who adore one another and have reason to respect one another. We are parents as well. 

    • Edith

      For us working from home moms who do not judge SAHM, I am disheartened by your comment.

      I think all women would say that want equality.Yes, I want equal pay for the job I do, but when it comes to being a mom, my ex was not my equivalent. We never decided he would be the stay at home dad, while I pulled in the bacon. I was a full-on, breastfeeding mom, while pulling in contracts that allowed me to work from home. Why should I have to pay child support when he has chosen to wait for that perfect job?

  • jmatt55

    My neighbor got divorced last year.  His wife woke up one day and despite their 5 year old son, she simply decided she didn’t want to be married anymore.  So she bought him out of the house and divorced him (tossed her son with the husband).

    She was quite p!ssed about having to pay alimony and child support.  And my dopey neighbor let her off the hook because she said she’d fight tooth and nail about everything, and he didn’t want the son caught in the middle.

    Shoe, meet the other foot.  It’s funny how unsympathetic women are when THEY become the partner on the hook for paying the bills.  lol

    • Jennifer Megan Varnadore


    • terrilynnmerritts

      I can understand the child support but why should she pay him alimony? Doesn’t he work? I don’t support alimony for either men or women and never did. She should fight tooth and nail for everything. He has the house and the child so they don’t need her around and wanting alimony is just trying to be vindictive. 

      • jmatt55

        She got the house.  She woke up one day and decided she didn’t want her husband and child getting in the way of her social life, so she divorced them.  She made more money than him.  He’s entitled to alimony.

        But oh how everyone’s tune changes once the shoe is on the other foot.  Ya can’t have it both ways ladies.  Ya got alimony for 75 years.  The law swings both ways.

  • terrilynnmerritts

    I have never favored alimony for anyone with the exception of an elderly woman who had never worked and had no education (back in the 1960′s and 1970′s) and stayed home raising kids. 

    Child support-yes! Alimony-No! Why should a man or woman be forced to pay someone just because they were once married? Why should one partner be forced to support someone he or she is no longer married to? This is a fossil from the past that needs to go in the museum and out of circulation. 

  • Robin Hair

    NJ alimony horror story. Reform desperately needed. Please read and sign petition: