When people hear the phrase “alimony,” it is not uncommon for them to associate the term with divorced women. In fact, many people often believe that alimony is generally only given to women following divorces. However, this is simply not the case in jurisdictions like Minnesota.
For instance, following a Minnesota divorce, both men and women may be entitled to alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support. When awarding maintenance payments, courts will often consider several factors including the needs of the party seeking payments and the ability of the other party to pay. Importantly, the gender of the party asking for alimony is not a consideration.
So, if men are equally entitled to alimony, why is it so uncommon? According to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau statistics, nationwide only three percent of divorced men seek alimony despite the fact that 37 percent of married mothers have larger incomes than their respective husbands. This translates to only 12,000 divorced men who receive alimony payments, compared to 380,000 of their female counterparts.
Several reasons have been posited for the large discrepancies between men's and women's alimony payments. First, in many instances, men simply fail to ask for it even if they may be entitled to spousal payments under the law. For many men, it can be emasculating to ask for spousal maintenance following a divorce as they consider it a sign of helplessness.
However, these men need to realize that just because their ex-wives made more money during the marriages, that doesn’t mean they are any less entitled to spousal maintenance payments. They need to ensure they review all of their options under the law.