Traditionally, alimony and child support were paid by men to women. Occasionally, clients tell me that the Court's are biased against men - that Courts award women custody, child and spousal support and that a man does not receive the same treatment.
A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) disagreed with that broad viewpoint. Although not scientific, the AAML surveyed its 1600 members and found that 56% of the nation's top divorce lawyers said they saw an increase in the number of mothers paying child support during the past 3 years and 47% also noted in the same time period a rise in the number of women being required to pay alimony to their husbands.
There are a number of reasons for the conclusion of this unempirical survey. The Court system reflects the changes in our society. Although it may take time for some changes to occur, they do occur. As more women achieve success in careers and receive significant income, these women find themselves having the same obligations as a man would have if he had the same career paths. The RI Child Support Guidelines are based upon each parent's gross income. As the wife's income increases, her contribution to the expenses of the child increase. If the husband's career has taken second place to the wife's career so that the husband is more of a house-husband, the financial positions are reversed and the child support and alimony arguments would be reversed.
Another reason is that more cases are finding resolution in the mediation process, where interest based negotiation helps parties examine the underlying interest that are at stake. Parties disclose their income and asset structure and the interests that they wish to pursue. When a woman pursues a career and earns as much or more than her spouse, the same principles of child support and alimony apply to her as would apply to a man if the careers were reversed.
See "More Women Paying Child Support and Alimony", The Sacramento Bee, www.sacbee.com/2012/05/08/v-print/4474906/more-women-paying-child-support.html