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Many readers in California likely think that in most dissolution of marriage cases, it is the husband who is ordered to pay spousal maintenance is some must be paid. This is because traditionally men earn more than women, thus making the payment of alimony after a divorce their responsibility. However, one recent article notes that this fact is changing.

In a growing number of divorce cases, in California and elsewhere, it is the wife who is ordered to pay her former spouse alimony payments. In fact, the number of couples where the wife earns more than her husband has grown to 16 percent over the past few years. This is a still small, but significant change from the past.

In divorce cases in our state, a court takes into consideration many factors as they work to determine the amount of spousal support that is owed. Among the factors are the earning potential of the soon-to-be former spouses and the length of the marriage. In many cases it is up to the court to determine how much is to be paid and how long.

In divorce matters couples often enter into negotiations aimed at dividing assets and determining how much and how long to pay spousal maintenance. At these discussions, the income of the individuals is one of the factors used to make theses determinations. When a couple cannot come to an agreement, a court is asked to decide using evidence such as not only bank statements and income reports but also all other financial information available. To ensure the best result, a person entering into the divorce process may wish to complete a financial review prior to beginning negotiations for spousal maintenance or property division.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: When You Earn More Than Your Husband," Jeff Landers, April 10, 2013

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