In theory, gender shouldn’t affect any divorce ruling. The laws should apply to everyone, regardless of whether they are men, women, in a same-sex marriage, or any other combination our modern world produces.
In practice, however, men still find it more difficult to receive spousal support. For some, the problem is internal. They don’t want to feel weak or needy. For others, the problem is external, as social biases still frown on a woman paying support to a man, and some judges act according to these prejudices.
Today’s world simply doesn’t line up with traditional expectations. More and more families see women as the breadwinners, creating more stay-at-home dads. Spousal support is, ostensibly, there to protect someone after the marriage ends. Divorce should not leave one spouse destitute, suddenly cut off from the resources their marriage provided. Whether this financial strain affects a man or a woman is irrelevant.
Many men still believe in the idea that they should be the primary caretaker of the home. They should not rely on anyone else to take care of them, and accepting help is a form weakness.
In many divorce cases, we find that men refuse to take spousal support, even when they need it. They often see financial independence as a matter of pride. Some believe that refusing alimony will help them win back their spouse, trying to show their ex that they’ve proven themselves.
Remember, alimony is not necessarily permanent. In most cases, courts specifically use time frames to keep one spouse stable as they build their independence. Taking help when you need it is not a sign of failure. It is simply admitting to the reality that you cannot rebuild your life overnight.
If, as a man, you think you might need spousal support after your divorce, try to see the matter in a completely impartial, practical way. Alimony is just there to keep you healthy, comfortable, and fed and you restructure your life and eventually gain the independence you truly desire.
Sometimes, society changes quickly, and culture doesn’t always keep up. Many people, both men and women, still believe in the social stigmas around a man’s obligation to be an independent provider. Studies show that when women earn more money, a marriage can struggle.
Furthermore, these beliefs extend into the courtroom. Judges are not immune to biases and social pressures, and they can hold just as many traditional beliefs as anyone else. When a man needs alimony, the court tends to be more judgmental of him. It can make the man jump through more hoops and show more accountability than a woman. Men may be asked to keep “job diaries,” detailing any work they secure, listing any applications they filled out or resumes they sent off, and so on. Even when a man is willing to take the support he needs, it may simply be harder for him to get it.
It's important to secure the services of a good attorney in your divorce. Remember, persuasion is a big part of your lawyer’s job. Even when a judge is biased against men, your attorney can help remind them of the law and their obligation to follow it. They may even be able to change the judge’s mind by explaining your circumstances.
The reality is this: Your gender has little to do with the realities of life. We live in a society that runs on money. If you’ve spent years relying on someone else, and that support system suddenly vanishes, you could end up hungry. Don’t allow anyone, including yourself, to keep you from getting the help you need.
Our firm is here to help with your alimony needs, whether you are the payor or receiver. For a free consultation, fill out our online contact form or call us now at (407) 753-4111.