The Paradox of Alimony for Men

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

Judges often scrutinize men more harshly during their bid for support, reflecting the bias that assumes men are, or should be, breadwinners, said Brendan Hammer, a Chicago-based lawyer. “Judges may also ask for a job diary, to prove that the husband is trying to earn what he did formerly, or even a living wage,” he said.

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

“There is a growing trend away from long-term alimony,” she said, noting that in Georgia, where she currently practices law, courts may still award lifetime support. “Over all, spousal support is meant to rehabilitate and retool the under-earning or out-of-work spouse,” Ms. Lindsey added.

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Men who have landed in a dependent position say they’ve found themselves there for various reasons.

When Glenn Smith married in 2014, he became a stepparent to two teenage boys. His wife, a tax lawyer, was the high earner of the couple and he soon gave up his career selling insurance to take care of the boys, he said. The relationship fell apart in 2020 and the divorce was finalized in early 2021. He receives $2,000 in monthly spousal support, something that will continue for two and a half years.