The paradox of male alimony

“The law is written to be gender neutral and blind, but that’s not always the case,” Mr Mosberg said on his own behalf. “More women are now working in prestigious positions and more husbands are staying at home with the children, but men receiving support are still the exception rather than the rule.”

Judges often scrutinize men more severely when asking for support, which reflects the bias that assumes men are or should be breadwinners, said Brendan Hammer, a Chicago attorney. “Judges may also require a job log to prove the husband is trying to earn what he used to do or even a living wage,” he said.

Elizabeth Lindsey, president of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, said in her experience that judges often gave men less support for shorter durations while expecting them to return to the job market faster than women.

“There’s a growing trend away from long-term alimony,” she said, noting that courts in Georgia, where she currently practices law, can still grant lifelong assistance. “Overall, spousal support is intended to rehabilitate and re-equip the underpaid or unemployed spouse,” Ms Lindsey added.

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Men who ended up in a dependent position say they found themselves there for a variety of reasons.

When Glenn Smith married in 2014, he became a stepdad to two teenagers. His wife, a tax attorney, is the couple’s main breadwinner and he soon gave up his career as an insurance salesman to take care of the boys, he said. The relationship broke up in 2020 and the divorce was finalized in early 2021. He receives $2,000 a month in spousal support, which lasts for two and a half years.

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