Only 3% of people who receive spousal support, more commonly known as alimony, are men. That is in spite of the fact that in about 40% of American households, women make more money than men. Each state has its own laws on awarding spousal support, but gender cannot be used as a factor in deciding who gets it. A 1979 Supreme Court case ruled that it was unconstitutional for states to make alimony available only to women. So, why are so few men receiving spousal support?
Some Men Just Don’t Know
Some men don’t request spousal support because they don’t know that have the option. Although spousal support in general is not as common as it used to be, when it is awarded, it is based on factors such as the length of the marriage and the income disparity between the spouses. Traditionally, alimony has been just for women because wives typically depended on their husbands for financial support. Although that has changed, perceptions and assumptions haven’t.
No state uses gender as a determining factor on paper, but the decision to award alimony is largely discretional and based on what the judge considers to be fair after reviewing all of the facts. Many judges still believe that a man should just get a job and support himself, even if his wife is in a position to earn far more money and even if she is in that position because of sacrifices made by and services provided by the man.
Some Men Refuse Alimony
Many men hold the bias within themselves. They are too proud to request or accept spousal support, find it embarrassing, or simply feel that it would undermine their sense of independence. Some men and women alike want to keep spousal support out of the divorce proceedings to make the process less contentious and facilitate better co-parenting. When there are no children involved, either spouse may choose to forgo spousal support because they want a clean break with no lingering ties to their ex.
To learn more about alimony and your rights in South Carolina, please give Darrell Beckham a call.