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Increasingly prominent for women to pay spousal maintenance

The subject of alimony -- or spousal maintenance as it is called here in Arizona -- has been a regular topic on this blog. Over the past year, spousal maintenance has been challenged by reform groups that seek to update what they would call "antiquated" laws that no longer accurately reflect the state of marriage in our society.

A few states have changed their spousal maintenance laws in response to this movement; and while Arizona's spousal maintenance reform was not necessarily tied to the calls for reform, our state tossed a formula that used to calculate how much spousal maintenance would be paid after a divorce if the parties involved couldn't agree on their own.

According to their latest study, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says the landscape of spousal maintenance continues to shift: and it doesn't have to do with the letter of the law. Of AAML's responding lawyers, 47% say they are seeing women pay spousal maintenance more frequently in the past three years. In addition, 56% of responding lawyers say women are paying child support on a more frequent basis.

There seem to be two reasons for the trend: women are increasingly better paid in the workplace, and the divorce rate has remained constant (more or less) over the past decade or two (deviating between 46% and 53%). Speaking about the trend, the president of AAML said "it shows that women have really moved up financially and that in many instances they are the major bread winners in a lot of families."

Source: Reuters, "Alimony: Women Increasingly Paying Alimony To Their Ex Husbands," Patricia Reaney, May 10, 12

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