In some divorce cases, a higher-earning spouse is ordered to pay spousal support, or alimony, to a lesser-earning spouse. The goal of spousal support is to help both parties maintain close to the same standard of living that was established during the marriage.
Spousal support is often awarded on a temporary basis so that the receiving spouse has financial assistance while looking for a job or getting training. Typically, it applies in cases where the lesser-earning spouse made career sacrifices such as staying home to raise children while the other spouse’s career took off.
In the past, it was usually the husband who was ordered to pay spousal support to the wife. However, women are now the primary breadwinners in many families, and more men are staying home to raise the children. As a result, spousal support paid by the wife to the husband is getting more common in California and other parts of the country.
In fact, last year a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that nearly half of the family law attorneys polled reported that they had noticed an increase in wives paying alimony to their ex-husbands in divorce cases.
Interestingly, this is one area in which society is catching up to the law instead of the other way around. Back in 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court held that there can be no gender bias when it comes to spousal support.
If you are going through divorce and made career sacrifices for the benefit of your family, talk to your divorce lawyer to see if spousal support may be an option in your case. Whether you are male or female, spousal support may provide the cushion you need while you get on your feet financially.
Source: Reuters, “More men getting alimony from their ex-wives,” Geoff Williams, Jan. 4, 2014