Are you afraid of asking for alimony or spousal support because you’re a man? Because you shouldn’t be.
The social economic roles that men and women play are rapidly changing with more women serving as the primary breadwinner for their households.
However, remarkably few men are asking for alimony when they divorce. According to the 2010 census, just 3 percent of approximately 400,000 alimony recipients in the U.S. were men. That number seems out of whack considering women constitute about half the workforce, and 37 percent of married women make more than their husband.
There are multiple factors that contribute to this discrepancy, but the most prominent one seems to be that men just aren’t asking for alimony or spousal support. Even though women are often the primary wage earner, men are still often embarrassed to ask for it.
You should ask your attorney if you might be eligible for alimony and be open to listening to all avenues available.
Despite how it is often perceived, alimony isn’t supposed to be some sort of revenge on your ex. The purpose of alimony and spousal support is to correct economic imbalances that sometimes develop when married people sacrifice for each other and then decide to divorce.
One spouse might have given up years of their career to stay home and raise the kids. When they try to reenter the workforce, they may only qualify for entry-level jobs while their ex has been steadily climbing the corporate ladder.
During divorce, your focus should be on doing whatever you can to gain the financial security you deserve. That means dropping whatever preconceived notions you have about what it means to be “manly.” Women have historically been the ones to receive alimony, but that doesn’t mean it should be degrading for a man to ask for it when it is deserved.
There are several other factors that are considered when a court decides whether alimony should be awarded, including:
- Earning potential – How much income you should bring in during your career over the long term.
- Marital contributions – Sacrifices made for the other spouse during marriage – such as helping put the other through college or quit your job to stay home to take care of the kids.
- Marriage length – The longer the marriage the more likely there will be a lengthier, or possibly even permanent, alimony payment.
- Marital fault – Although no-fault divorce is now the norm, some states can assign blame for wrecking a marriage under conditions such as adultery and are less likely to award alimony to the offending spouse.
Unfortunately, the notion still exists that men shouldn’t make alimony requests. This is one of many outdated stereotypes that affect men and fathers going through divorce. Many judges still have a bias, maybe even a subconscious one, toward awarding custody and alimony to the mother.
If you or your attorney think alimony was unfairly denied or awarded based on a gender bias, it is grounds for appeal, but it can be difficult coming up with substantial evidence to support your case. This often involves employing vocational experts to estimate earning potential.
Equality goes both ways. It isn’t fair to handicap men following divorce because of silly cultural norms. If you’re going through divorce and feel you might be entitled to alimony, consult with your attorney to determine the best course of action.