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More women find themselves paying alimony after divorce

Traditionally in Minnesota and across the country, it was nearly always the husband who would end up paying alimony after a divorce, now known as spousal maintenance, to his ex-wife. This was a reflection of the demographic and cultural norms of the last few decades. The traditional family with a stay-at-home mother and full time working father can still be found in the Twin Cities. But dual income families are much more commonplace than they were in the past.

As progress continues in reducing the inequity between the incomes of male and female workers, it is not uncommon for a wife to earn more than her husband. This can lead to a reversal of the traditional notion of an ex-husband paying an ex-wife spousal support. An increasing number of divorces involving spousal support involve the husband receiving the support.

In addition to the simple increase in women's salaries in comparison to their male counterparts, several other factors have increased the trend of woman paying spousal maintenance. The financial meltdown of 2008 has had an impact on every person in Minnesota, but one of the first groups of employees that were impacted was the construction industry, an industry that employs more men. So as these plumbers, drywallers, and framers were forced to look for work, their wives became the primary source of income.

Another trend that contributes to alimony for ex-husbands is the increase in stay-at-home dads. In 1983 the idea of "Mr. Mom" was so unusual it was the basis for a movie. But on a warm sunny spring weekday like today, you're likely to see quite a few 'full time dads' with their kids at the Lake Nokomis beach.

Source: Reuters, "Divorce courts mirror society as more women pay alimony," Patrica Reany, May 10, 2012

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