The term housewife has taken on various meanings compared to its past. A housewife traditionally was a wife and mother who stayed in the home to raise the children and keep the house, but that has changed over the years. We see it in shows like The Real Housewives of New Jersey and in our own lives. Now a housewife is often a woman who pursues her passions, works outside of the home, plus takes care of the kids and her husband. She’s no wallflower.
It is not even uncommon today for women to make the majority of the household’s money. Women’s fight for equality has led them to seek continued education and, therefore, land relatively high paying jobs. Fewer women have to depend on their husbands — or their ex-husbands — to support them and their kids. Reuters reports that the change in the household earning tradition is leading to a change in the trends of alimony and child support across the country.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that about half of family law attorneys have seen an increase in the rate at which women are required to pay child support and alimony to their ex-husbands after divorce. If the woman was the primary source of income and family support during the marriage, the men who relied on that support during the marriage are seen as having rights to continued financial support.
Some women who are ordered to support their exes might not be thrilled about the situation, but that’s been true with many men who have been required to do the same thing and will continue to be required to do so if the situation calls for it. The upside of this reported family law trend is that it proves that women are making progress in the workplace and men’s rights as fathers are being recognized through more progressive child support decisions.
Ideally, gender shouldn’t be a determining factor when it comes to family law decisions. Courts should look at the facts and measurable circumstances of a family’s independent situation in order to make a fair and safe assessment of what would be right for the family after divorce.
Source: Reuters, “Divorce courts mirror society as more women pay alimony,” Patricia Reaney, May 10, 2012