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Changing trends find more mothers paying child support

In nearly half of Northern Virginia households today, the wife and mother is the primary income earner for the family. According to a recent survey, these high-earning women are entrepreneurs, business professionals and soldiers who are working outside the home and taking control of the family finances. With more women professionals, more men and dads are primary caregivers, staying at home and controlling the household. Because of this shift in responsibility, it cannot be assumed that after divorce the mother will automatically retain custody of the children and be paid child support. According to recent statistics, almost one in six fathers today have full or shared custody of their child, a substantial increase from 1960s.

While laws related to child support differ in each state, generally mothers who are the primary breadwinners may have to pay spousal support and child support. The court may decide spousal support based on each spouse's financial needs and ability to pay and the length of the marriage. Child support payments may depend on each parent's ability to financially and physically share responsibility for the child.

Many parents also fail to pay child support payments -- almost one in three parents, either mother or father, fail to pay the child support ordered by the court. However, studies show that the rate of child support payment delinquency has been dropping over the past few years.

In cases where parents are unable to pay child support, a child support modification can be sought. When parents can afford the payments, but still choose not to pay, penalties may be an option. A settlement that correctly addresses both parties' needs may help a couple meet their obligations in accordance with the law.

Source: Communities Digital News, "More women paying child support, spousal support," Myra Fleischer, May 27, 2014

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