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Who should pay alimony?

Many people think that the complex question of who should pay alimony has a simple answer – the spouse who earns more. A lot of Las Vegas readers also have the misconception that alimony is something that husbands pay to ex-wives, since traditional parenting roles and the wage gap have kept women earning less than their male counterparts. And, before women made up a large proportion of the workforce, alimony was often considered compensation for the job of raising children and managing the household.

However, recent statistics show that about 40 percent of married women are now making more than their husbands, suggesting that the typical expectations about alimony are no longer true.

So the answer to the question of who should pay alimony, and how much and for how long, is a much more nuanced answer and many Las Vegas residents going through a divorce are surprised when they see the results.

For example, in families where both spouses work either full or part time, both spouses may also take on signficant portions of the childcare or other housework, in which case alimony could be a final element in assesing the equitable division of assets. Or, if both spouses worked but one agreed to have a less demanding job so that the other could pursue their career, a court may consider that to be a form of support worthy of additional payment.

In any situation, the important thing to remember in a high asset divorce is that the issue of alimony is complicated.

Source: Time, “The De-Gendering of Divorce: Wives Pay Ex-Husbands Alimony Too,” Liza Mundy, April 16, 2013.

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