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After divorce, more women are now paying alimony to ex-husbands

In New Jersey, a 48-year-old woman married her first husband when she was 22, while they both were in college. When she decided to get a divorce after 19 years of marriage, she found herself paying $1,500 a month to her ex-husband in alimony payments.

While neither finished college, the woman climbed her way up the corporate ladder in the retail industry until she was earning just about six figures. The husband worked on and off in construction, and made about half of that. Now he's making $18,000 a year from alimony payments alone.

While some in the area of divorce law call this "manimony," or "malimony," under New Jersey law its legal name is permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is usually fixed when there is a long term marriage with a disparity of income between the two spouses. However, permanent alimony can be adjusted if the higher wage earning spouse retires or makes less money, or if the ex-spouse receiving the alimony gets re-married.

This story brings up an important question when it comes to alimony: how is the amount of alimony determined? The short answer is: in most states, courts have discretion in deciding whether or not to award alimony, and if so, for how much and for what period of time.

However, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act recommends to the courts that several factor be considered during alimony decisions. And, in today's society, women are increasingly on the short end of many of these factors.

So, "independent women" beware. The person making the most money in the marriage will probably be the one paying alimony after a divorce. More and more, the tradition of men paying and women receiving spousal support is being eroded, due to our changing culture. Orders of alimony payments from ex-wife to ex-husband are on the rise.

Source: WABC-TV, "More women paying alimony to ex-husbands," Darla Miles, Sept. 25, 2012

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