In 1960, an estimated 11 percent of households had a woman as the primary wage earner. Even though media sources have often reported on the wage discrepancy between men and women for comparable employment, more women are becoming the primary provider in many households. Florida residents who are contemplating a divorce may be surprised to learn that more and more women are being ordered to pay alimony and child support.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than 1,600 attorneys were surveyed concerning women paying child support and alimony. More than half reported that they have dealt with such cases. Over the past three years, there has been an estimated 45 percent increase in the number of women who are paying support to their former spouses.

It was not uncommon in the past for the wife to either stay home or hold a lower-paying position while her husband earned substantially more during the marriage. If they divorced, the man was often ordered to make alimony payments as well as child support. Society has seen a shift, however, in the number of women who are earning more than their partners. Though some women may attempt to counter that their spouse was underemployed during their marriage, a judge is still inclined to order the higher-earning spouse to help support the other after a dissolution.

One woman argued that her monthly alimony payments were being used to support her husband’s addiction to adult websites. The former husband’s lawyer countered, successfully, that it was part of his entertainment expenses, which was considered a permissible expense. Florida residents who are concerned about issues surrounding alimony or other support obligations may be best served by consulting with an experienced attorney who can provide assistance in securing a settlement agreement that best meets one’s needs.