Why is it So Hard for Men to Get Spousal Support?
In today’s two-income families and successful women “breadwinners,” a Forbes magazine series on spousal support (alimony) concluded that of the 400,000 people in the United States receiving post-divorce spousal maintenance, only 3 percent were men.
While men are making strides in "winning" in the custody battles...While men are making strides in "winning" in the custody battles, the common practice still seems to be that in households headed by women, even though men are eligible, they do not receive it. I have represented men who legally had a right to spousal support in long duration of marriage but the parties, attorneys and even some judges are still sexist. I confronted an attorney representing the wife about this issue and stated, "If my client was a woman, you would think differently about spousal support," and his response, "Yup, he needs to get a job."
Gender equality.Gender equality in this area is a relatively new concept even though the law is suppose to be gender blind. A man is considered to be the breadwinner and could easily become employable. The idea of asking for spousal support is often times emasculating. But many men are now the stay at home parent due to the heavy constraints of the work of the wife. For some men it appears to be begging but to some it is a new era. I had a client that told me, "If women want it all then they have to be able to accept the consequences of it all." Frankly, I agree.
There is a trend to advocate for eliminating the need to pay for spousal support.There is a trend to advocate for eliminating the need to pay for spousal support. Unlike child support, which is common when divorcing couple has kids, spousal support have always been rare, going from 25% of cases in the 1960s to about 10% according to Judith McMullen, a law professor at Marquette University. In fact, in one study in Wisconsin, she found out it was only 8.6%. Now that women are paying support more often, they are getting involved in advocating for change. "It's unfair for men to pay it, and unfair for women to pay it. But women are much more outraged by it," according to Ken Neumann, a founder of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.