Report: Many men may be eligible for spousal support and/or alimony but don’t receive it

National statistics show that very few alimony recipients are men, even though a rising number of men may be eligible to receive this financial support.

Spouses getting divorced in Langhorne may be awarded alimony and/or spousal support, to address financial inequalities during and after divorce. State family law courts use various factors to determine how much spousal support should be awarded and how long this support should continue. These considerations are gender-neutral, so support is equally available to divorcing men and women. However, statistics suggest that many men do not receive the support that they may be entitled to.

Men and spousal support

According to Forbes, Census data shows that about 400,000 Americans receive alimony. However, just 3 percent of those people - or about 12,000 individuals - are men. This seems to reflect a gap between the number of men who receive alimony and the number of men who are eligible for it. According to the same data, women act as primary breadwinners in about 40 percent of U.S. households.

Less formal data suggests that the number of men receiving alimony might be increasing. According to Reuters, in 2012, an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey focused on the number of women paying alimony. About 47 percent of the AAML members who responded stated that more women were paying spousal support to their ex-husbands. Still, a large number of men may go without spousal support that they could benefit from.

Qualifying for alimony

In Pennsylvania, many men may be eligible to receive support. When awarding support and alimony, family law judges in the state consider various financial factors, including inheritances, current property, income, retirement accounts and future earning potential. Men with limited personal assets, income or earning opportunities may qualify for support.

The court may also assess less easily quantified factors. These include one spouse's contribution to the other's education or career; the marital standard of living; and the liabilities each spouse will incur while caring for the couple's children. When these variables are weighed in, many men might be eligible for at least limited support.

Potential barriers

Unfortunately, statistics indicate that many men do not receive the support that they may be entitled to. Forbes notes that there may be various explanations for this pattern, including the following:

  • Traditional stereotypes about gender roles may make some men reluctant to seek financial assistance.
  • For similar reasons, divorcing women may be more inclined to fight against paying support or alimony.
  • Unconscious biases may make judges more likely to award men limited support or decline to award it.

Despite these potential barriers, men should strongly consider exercising their rights to pursue support before divorce proceedings are complete. After a settlement has been finalized, spouses cannot change their minds about choosing to seek alimony.

For this reason, divorcing men may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney with experience in high-income divorce and support/alimony awards. An attorney may be able to offer advice on a spouse's rights or assist the spouse in seeking needed support.

Keywords: alimony, spousal support, divorce

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