As more and more women narrow the income gap, more and more men now ask for spousal support when the marriage ends. “Interestingly enough, part of the ramifications of women getting better jobs, getting higher pay and receiving equal rights are certain penalties, such as orders of spousal support in divorce proceedings,” says Kenneth Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimony Lawyers (AAML), a professional organization for family law attorneys.
As women begin to earn more, more men seek alimony because gender roles become less defined, and the need for men to seek spousal support increases when men become homemakers.
Courts usually first look at the disparity of income when considering alimony. Many husbands now have incomes that are significantly lower than their wives because women now take on the role of breadwinner more frequently.
Additionally, courts also consider contributions of a homemaker. At one time, women were generally the prime caregiver within the marriage and sacrificed working for childrearing. Now, as more men assume the role of homemaker, they need compensation at the end of a marriage.
“I would call it [alimony for men] a mini trend,” says Ned Holstein, the founder of Fathers and Families, an advocacy group that pushes for family court reform. “Gender roles in our society have largely converged, and the public strongly supports gender neutrality in matters of family court.”