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Changing gender roles can impact alimony outcomes

According to researchers, one of the biggest risks to a marriage is a shift in traditional gender roles. Very often, those changes take place when the New Jersey spouse who was once financially dependent on his or her partner begins earning more. If one spouse starts to outearn the other, the change in marital dynamic can cause serious harm. If divorce is the eventual outcome, alimony may not be a cut-and-dried issue.

Researchers believe that one reason why these changes cause so much harm lies in expectations regarding work and family obligations. For example, if a wife stays home to raise the children and manage the household, the husband might assume responsibility for providing financial security. If the wife returns to work and starts making a good salary, there will be less time and energy to devote to household management. If the husband doesn't increase his contributions in that area, resentment can build. 

Shifting financial roles can also complicate matters of alimony. If a former stay-at-home parent returns to the workplace and earns a good living, he or she can end up with less spousal support. The other partner can make a valid argument that there is no longer a need to pay spousal support, as evidenced by the spouse's current income. 

For those in New Jersey who are struggling to adjust to changes in their gender roles, it may be helpful to speak with a family law attorney. Issues of alimony can become very complicated after one party's return to the workforce. There are timing issues to consider, and a full accounting of the time spent in the home, as opposed to moving forward with one's career. These matters can be challenging to negotiate, and often become a focal point within the divorce. 

Source: CNBC, "Why you may be more likely to get divorced - and what you can do about it", Nanda Davis, April 24, 2018

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