Why fewer men get alimony than women

US bank notes

While matrimonial laws remain unspecific about gender, the vast majority of spousal support after a divorce falls on men. It’s common knowledge that most courts usually rule in favor of women when it comes to alimony, but why is that the case? Here’s why fewer men get alimony than women. 

Looking at the Statistics

In a 2014 Forbes article, writer Emma Johnson points out that there are 400,000 thousand individuals in the United States who receive alimony. While women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households, only three percent of men receive alimony from their ex-spouse.   

By those numbers, there are hundreds of thousands of men who should be eligible for alimony but never receive aid. There are a number of reasons behind this phenomenon, all of which are worth examining. 

Old Stereotypes Die Hard

Gender equality is a new concept in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t just apply to women. Modern day feminism is as much about women’s rights as it is men’s, but it still faces the same stereotypes that challenged first and second wave feminism. 

This leads to two major obstacles faced by a man and their divorce attorney in court. The first falls on the man and old ideas about masculinity. Asking for alimony is seen by many men as highly emasculating, especially when they have to admit that their former spouse kept them financially afloat. 

The second obstacle is the idea that a successful man is the breadwinner of his family. With 40 percent of households having women making more money, that old caveat simply isn’t true anymore. Regardless, the perceptions of men and women’s roles in a relationship are still stuck in decades past. 

Court Battles

It doesn’t matter which spouse earns more money, the breadwinner is going to put up a fight in court to keep their money. Both men and women from various generations are ready to duke it out in an attempt to not have to pay a dime in alimony. However, men face a different challenge in court.

With old stereotypes dying hard, a guy could walk into court with the best divorce and separation attorney in the world and expect to pay alimony. After an exhausting and expensive legal battle, men are also disincentivized from pursuing spousal support. 

Not only are men simply expected to get a better job before seeking support, they’re told they won’t receive anywhere close to the amount of alimony their ex-spouse would. In cases where women were vice presidents and executives at banks, unemployed men and stay-at-home dads received less than six months of alimony. Reverse the roles, and those women would easily receive support for years to come. 

The Need for Independence

The final reason fewer men receive alimony is that they want independence from their former spouse. In some cases, men are simply looking to start a new life after their marriage ends and would prefer to do so without a shred of their former partner in the mix. 

This need for independence comes from the higher level of confidence men have in their ability to be self-sufficient. Men tend to see a bright future despite a bleak financial situation. Women, on the other hand, are usually more cautious when it comes to finances.