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Divorced women paying more alimony and child support

Many Washington residents probably know that women have enjoyed more economic success in recent years. That success has had repercussions in family court, as women's improved economic situation has meant a rise in the proportion of female parents paying child support for the children's living expenses, medical expenses and education costs.

Recent studies have found an increasing gap between men and women when it comes to educations, home buying and incomes. For instance, analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by, found that young single men without children make less than young single women.

In part, the difference in incomes for the two groups is the result of the recession hitting male-dominated sectors such as construction the hardest.

Another factor is that women are going to and graduating from college at much higher rates than men. That trend appears to be accelerating.

Women's improved economic position has enabled them to buy homes at much higher rates than their male counterparts. For example, according to current statistics from the National Board of Realtors, approximately 20 percent of house purchases nationwide involved a single woman buyer.

Women's economic gains have also led to changes in family law courtrooms. According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, women are increasingly paying rather than receiving alimony, child support or both.

The survey, which questioned divorce lawyers across the country, found that at least half of the lawyers surveyed had witnessed a spike in the proportion of mothers ordered to pay child support. Likewise, a similar ratio of the surveyed attorneys had seen an increased number of women paying alimony.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Single women earning more money, degrees," June 18, 2012

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