By Gerri Elder
A recent national survey showed that more mothers are now the parent making child support payments. This is a shift from the traditional thought that women receive primary physical custody of children after a couple splits and that men are ordered to pay child support.
The latest survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) also showed that not only are more women paying child support these days, there has also been an increase in the dollar amount of the child support payments.
The survey indicated that 55% of the divorce lawyers responding to the survey cited an increase over the past five years in the number of mothers who have made agreements or been ordered by the court to make child support payments. Market Watch reported that 42% of the divorce lawyers surveyed said that the size of child support payments overall has increased during that same time period.
James Hennenhoefer, president of the AAML, told Market Watch that the figures are not surprising. He notes that changes in society are very frequently addressed during divorce and in the legal system. Child support payments are no exception.
Hennenhoefer said that it is in the best interests of the court and all parties involved in child support matters to put the needs of the child first; therefore, if one parent is better suited to provide financial support to a child, that parent should pay.
On the flip side of things, only 1% of lawyers who participated in the survey have seen an increase over the past five years in the number of men ordered to make child support payments. This could be largely due to the fact that in the past, dads have generally been the parent ordered to pay child support. Since it has already been the norm for men to pay, most lawyers have not seen any drastic increase there.
According to divorce lawyers surveyed 44% said that they noticed no difference in the number of moms or dads ordered to pay child support. The divorce lawyers were asked about changes they have noticed in the size of the child support awards.
Approximately 42% of the lawyers surveyed said that overall the amount of the ordered child support payments had increased over the past five years. Only 14% of divorce lawyers said that the size of child support payments had actually decreased in recent years.
Again, 44 percent of divorce lawyers who responded to the survey cited no changes in the size of court ordered child support payments over the past five years.