2018 Patterns in Spousal Support: What Changed?

It goes without saying that the concept of marriage has shifted over the years and marriages today are far more different than they were 10 or 20 years ago.  The cliché that dictated marriages were usually broken because of the husband, thus leaving the wife needing lifelong financial support has passed.  Alimony or spousal support still exists however in cases where divorce happens following a traditional long-marriage in which one of the partners did not contribute to the household income.  But the tables have turned and women are not always at that end of the straw. 

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers over the past three years, almost half of attorneys (45%) have noticed an increase in women having to pay alimony and over half (54%) of divorced women now pay child support.  For the first time, there are more two-income households than ever before and it is not unusual for women to have higher incomes.  The majority of divorce courts are now gender-neutral and numbers are the number one influencer when it comes to decisions regarding alimony and child support.  The now-famous statistic which points out that 50% of marriages end up in divorce remains unchanged, it was the implications that changed. 

In addition to this, political factors are now causing shifts as well.  Besides the fact that in many states, governors have changed legislatures to curtail alimony or even abolish it completely when the payer retires for instance, the wider political context will be the decisive factor.  President Donald Trump’s newest tax law promises to put extra pressure on divorcees. 

Approximately two-thirds of American matrimonial lawyers report they expect divorce negotiations to become even more difficult following a change to alimony tax treatment. 

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers findings demonstrate that the new alimony rules will have a major impact on how divorces are settled and the process may be more acrimonious.  

In spite of all of these changes, there is no need for panic.  Having an expert divorce lawyer is the golden ticket in negotiating the best possible offer, regardless if it is for the partner who is supposed to pay the alimony or receive it.

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