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Do Women Pay Alimony After a Long Island Divorce?

by | Nov 9, 2021 | News and Events

Traditionally, the male spouse was at a considerably greater risk of being ordered to pay spousal or child support following a divorce. However, as responsibilities within the home shift to more equal footing in New York and throughout the United States, courts are starting to compel support from women and mothers who dissolve their marriages.

Here’s what you should know about spousal support on Long Island and how you can get the legal assistance you need for an upcoming divorce or child support hearing. Working with a seasoned divorce attorney as soon as possible is a great way to solidify your chances of a successful outcome.

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Women & Alimony in the U.S.

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) suggests that as many as 45% of divorce attorneys in the United States have reported an increase in the number of women who are ordered to pay spousal maintenance. While there’s still a slight disparity, this is far more equal than it had been during prior decades when women were traditionally staying at home and husbands were able to financially provide for their families alone with a single salary.

Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, president of the AAML from 2017 to 2018, suggested that “it was almost traditionally the man who paid support [due to a] higher income, and it was the woman in either a lesser-income job or she would be a stay-at-home mom. If they’ve had a history of being the breadwinner or the husband being the child care provider, these women are going to be faced with paying support [in a divorce.] And many of them are very surprised when they learn that.”

These days, spousal maintenance is paid to the lesser earning spouse from the higher earning spouse, regardless of the gender identity or biological sex of either spouse. This is a particularly important distinction for same-sex marriages in New York.

Are Women Paying Child Support Too?

The U.S. Census Bureau collects information on how many mothers vs. fathers pay child support. This is called the Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report and helps to generate a clearer picture of how many people are paying child support in the U.S. and how much money is being paid versus how much is owed.

In January 2020, the Census reported that just over half of mothers were awarded child support, while almost 40% of fathers were awarded. In the past, this number skewed much more heavily toward fathers being ordered to pay support. Now, family courts look at the matter from a gender-neutral lens thanks to a Supreme Court decision in March of 1979 that ruled ordering husbands but not wives to pay alimony and child support was unconstitutional.

Does a Woman Earning More Increase the Chances of a Long Island Divorce?

Certain variables may increase the likelihood of a divorce among New York residents. Instances wherein women start to earn more money than a man after entering the marriage, particularly after earning less or not working at all, are often cited as a cause.

Many family legal experts speculate that a significant contributor to the increased risk of divorce is that many husbands find it challenging to break free from established gender norms. This is especially true for spouses that followed traditional gender norms in the initial stages of their relationship compared to those who eschewed gender roles from the start.

How an Experienced Divorce Lawyer Can Help

An experienced divorce or family lawyer can offer advice on which legal options are most logical to explore to address divorce-related conflicts and offer the greatest opportunity for success. To get fair settlement terms for property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation, child support, etc., litigation may be necessary depending on your individual circumstances.

When to Reach Out to a Veteran Family Law Attorney In New York

At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we understand how difficult facing the prospect of divorce is. We have significant experience representing clients from a wide variety of different backgrounds in many types of family legal situations. We can help you navigate divorce, child custody, support, and alimony conversations with your spouse.

Call today for your consultation by dialing 631-923-1910 or filling out the short form on this page. We are available to help you now.


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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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