Men DO Get Alimony

Men can argue for alimony and get it. When Mom becomes a CEO and Dad becomes Mr. Mom, the rules of alimony stay the same; only the beneficiaries change.

More than 30 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against gender discrimination in alimony, yet for many years few male recipients stepped forward to talk about it because many found it embarrassing. No more.

As women advance in the financially rewarding careers, the number of men collecting alimony has gone up. Exact figures are difficult to come by, but divorce lawyers estimate that the husband is the one awarded spousal support in 5-10 percent of the divorces.

Several factors have contributed to the upswing:

  • More women earning more than their former spouses.
  • More men than women lost their jobs during the Recession.
  • More women starting successful businesses and entering higher-paying professions. Women now outnumber men at many law and medical schools, for example.

In determining whether alimony is to be awarded and the amount, most jurisdictions weigh several factors, including each spouse’s income, the length of the marriage, the reason for the divorce, and the age and health of each spouse. Because the judge has so much discretion when ordering alimony, it is impossible to predict the alimony outcome in any particular case. Avoiding this unknown alimony minefield is one reason some people settle with a spouse and thus avoid contested divorces.

All jurisdictions now are gender-neutral on alimony. However, the laws are not always uniformly applied in practice, and even the prospect of alimony might induce some men toward mediated and collaborative divorces.

Although prenuptial agreements, including provisions on alimony, used to be more favored by wealthy men marrying poorer women, such agreements can now be increasingly valuable for women “on the way up” – those who own businesses or who expect to earn higher wages during a marriage.

In the recent past, when spouses both worked it was common for them to mutually waive alimony. Now, judges may order token amounts of alimony at the time of a divorce so that alimony can be increased if substantial changes occur after the divorce, such as a former spouse losing his or her job.



Suggested Reading
The Spousal Support Handbook The Spousal Support Handbook
Spousal support is one of many issues that is often difficult for spouses to agree upon. Before negotiating and even signing an agreement regarding spousal support it is very important that you understand your rights and the repercussions of any actions taken.

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COMPLIANCE -- The enforcement of alimony payments is not like child-support, which has the "teeth" of wage garnishment, liens, and other enforcement mechanisms. In the event of failure to comply, the recipient can, however, return to court to force payment in a contempt action.
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