All’s Fair in Love and Alimony
Alimony (also referred to as spousal support), a sum of money oftentimes paid to a woman from her ex-husband to help her maintain a semblance of the lifestyle she once had while married, is drastically changing. According to the Pew Research Center, a record breaking 37% of married women are out earning their husbands and becoming the family’s “breadwinner”. With this change in income statistics, men are now eligible to request a sum of money in the form of alimony.
A gender bias has existed in the court system that heavily favored females in terms of alimony, but as stated previously, women are now out earning their husbands. Because of this growing trend, women are being ordered to pay their former husbands a sum of money in the form of one payment, or smaller payments made over time. In some cases, lifetime alimony is awarded. However, many men aren’t requesting they be paid alimony because either they aren’t aware that they can, or they refuse to take the blow to their ego by doing so. Whatever the case may be, men should be encouraged to consider requesting alimony.
Times are changing, and more men are opting to put their careers on hold and stay home and raise children while their wives earn a living. In doing so, couples are reversing stereotypical gender roles that have dominated our society for years. When the spouses decide to file for divorce, the father will be faced with the challenge of re-entering the workforce for the first time in years. With a lack of experience and a gap in employment, as well as the looming threat of unemployment, it is encouraged that men in these situations pursue alimony.
If a woman was in the same situation, there is a very good chance she would request that her former husband pay her alimony. So why shouldn’t a man ask the same from his ex-wife? This is a question that many are wrestling with. There are members of both sexes that support a system in which a woman pays alimony, stating that if females truly want equal rights under the law, then they should accept all of the rules, even those of which that aren’t necessarily pleasing. The thought of writing a check payable to your ex can be enough to make your stomach turn if the relationship turned especially sour, however, some say the practice just happens to come with the territory of being divorced.
On the other hand, many women (and some men) are against the notion of paying alimony to their former spouses. Those who hold this view do not think that you should become financially liable for your spouse just because you use to be married to them. In certain cases, women were not only working longer hours and earning a higher salary, but also pulled more than their fair share of weight when it came to maintaining the home and raising the children. They argue that they should not have to help support their ex-husband when he did not fully participate during the course of their marriage.
Courts are beginning to re-evaluate the way they decide alimony in divorce cases. Ultimately, it is based on which spouse has a higher economic standing. Alimony is no longer a gender specific stipulation in divorce settlements, and the courts are recognizing that. Men should not be ashamed to request alimony because it isn’t just for women anymore.
Men may feel that they face an uphill battle when it comes to pursuing a divorce. Because of this, it is strongly encouraged that men hire an attorney who is well versed in divorce, specifically one who has experience with father’s rights and fighting for alimony. In doing so, they have a greater chance of emerging with a fair divorce settlement.