Why Don’t More Men Get Alimony?

why don't more men get alimonyAlthough matrimonial laws are not gender specific, the general trend is that if spousal support is paid after divorce, it’s a man who pays it and a woman who receives it. But that scenario does not seem to coincide with the trend of more and more women serving as the higher income earner in their household.

An article in Forbes magazine reports that approximately 40% of U.S. households are headed by female breadwinners, and of the 400,000 people in the United State receiving spousal support after divorce, only 3% of those were men. This suggests that hundreds of thousands of men who are eligible for alimony don’t receive it.

There were many reasons cited as to why men don’t ask for alimony including gender roles, male pride and sexist judges. Other reasons that men said they would never ask for spousal maintenance is that they thought that not pursuing alimony would make for a less contentious divorce process, and men tend to be more optimistic about their ability to support themselves.

What types of alimony are available in Tennessee?

Whether the couple agrees on spousal support or the court orders one spouse to pay the other, there are four different types of spousal support available for couples who are divorcing in Tennessee:

  • Periodic Alimony. The purpose of periodic alimony is to provide support for a financially disadvantaged spouse who has little chance of being able to support themselves enough to maintain an appropriate standard of living.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony. This form of spousal support helps an individual who might need to go back to school or get training in order to increase their income.
  • Transitional Alimony. Transitional spousal support is paid for a defined period of time to help the spouse who is worse off financially adjust to their change in circumstances.
  • Alimony in Solido (Lump Sum Alimony). This is long term support that is made in installments over a specific period of time.

In addition to deciding whether or not alimony would be appropriate, the Court must also consider how long the payment should continue, and how much the other spouse should receive. The judge must weigh several factors when deciding on the question of spousal maintenance including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The level of education and earning capacity of each party
  • The age and physical and mental condition of each party
  • The contributions both parties have made to the marriage — both tangible and intangible
  • Many other additional factors which are listed in the law (Tenn. Code § 36-5-121)

In a marriage relationship where the woman was the primary income earner and the man stayed home and raised the children and maintained the household, if the court agreed that spousal support was in order, he would be entitled to receive it if he chose to.

Times are changing, but it might take a long time for things such as entrenched gender roles and male pride to change in order for as more men to start asking for alimony in a divorce.

If you are considering divorce, they you’ve probably got questions about spousal maintenance, child support or any other issue surrounding divorce, contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates to discuss your case.