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Spousal Support for Men

Consider this common scenario: a couple separates, the husband makes significantly more than his wife. The husband’s current income will allow him a more comfortable standard of living post-divorce than that of his wife.  The wife will more than likely seek alimony, and if she can demonstrate a need for spousal support, the court will grant her request. Now imagine that the tables are turned and it is the husband that needs spousal support.

What is your first reaction when you hear that a husband is seeking alimony? Do you believe that the wife should pay alimony, just as the husband would, or that there is something fundamentally wrong about a wife paying spousal support? In an era where we are making strides in gender equality, the concept of spousal support for men is rarely discussed and is often ignored.

What is your first reaction when you hear that a husband is seeking alimony? Do you believe that the wife should pay alimony, just as the husband would, or that there is something fundamentally wrong about a wife paying spousal support? In an era where we are making strides in gender equality, the concept of spousal support for men is rarely discussed and is often ignored.

In the modern age of two-income families and women breadwinners, only 3 percent of traditional alimony recipients are men. Yet, according to a recent study, 40 percent of U.S. households are headed by female breadwinners.

Men have made significant progress within the realm of family law by fighting for shared, and sometimes full custody of their children; but they have not made the same steps in areas related to support. Unfortunately, support continues to fall into traditional “gender-roles” and a stigma is often placed on men who seek and even accept alimony.

More often than not, men are their biggest road-blocks to obtaining support, as some simply refuse to ask for it. Yet in every state the guidelines that outline the justification and need for spousal support do not list gender as a contributing factor. But the percentage of men requesting alimony is on the rise as the earning potential of women continues to grow.

Many men need spousal support for many of the same reasons as women. Men are slowing down their careers so their wives can focus on growing theirs.  Similarly, more men are becoming stay-at-home dads. Seeking alimony can at times offer a way to negotiate a better divorce settlement, as a wife may find that giving up a vacation home or a larger portion of her retirement is an easier pill to swallow than writing an alimony check to her ex-husband.

Men or women that are the primary breadwinners of their home should be accountable for providing what the court deems as fair support amount, and the recipient’s gender should not matter. Many men don’t seek alimony because of they do not want to be supported by their ex-wives. Yet, to not protect yourself and take advantage of what state divorce laws allow is a short sided view.

For more information about spousal support, or your individual family law circumstances, contact the divorce attorneys at Protokowicz and Rodier today.

 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide about the subject matter. A licensed Maryland attorney should be sought about your specific circumstances.