Could You Be Eligible For ‘Manimony’?
According to the U.S. Census, only three percent of alimony recipients are men.
For most men navigating through divorce, the thought never even crosses their minds that they could be eligible to receive alimony from their wives. Or, if it does, they quickly dismiss the idea because they are embarrassed to financially rely on their ex-wife.
But according to Cordell & Cordell divorce attorney Anne Scipior, younger clients tend to be more open to requesting alimony. As more women join the workforce and more dads stay at home to care for their kids, more men are receiving alimony, or “manimony,” as it has been termed, than ever before.
So if you’re a man going through divorce, don’t automatically reject the idea of receiving alimony because of antiquated gender stereotypes.
Unfortunately, the laws concerning alimony, or maintenance as it’s called in some states, differ drastically between states. Because the decision to award alimony and how much to award is usually up to the judge’s discretion, it’s tough to predict whether you will receive alimony.
However, there are some general criteria that judges consider when determining whether or not a spouse is eligible for alimony.
Ask yourself the following questions. If your response is “yes” to any or all,then you should discuss asking for alimony with your divorce lawyer.
- Does your wife earn more than you? This is the single most important criterium for receiving alimony and probably the most straightforward, especially If you’re a stay-at-home dad.
- Have you sacrificed advancing your own career so that your wife could pursue hers? This could include reducing your work hours to take care of the kids or passing on a promotion because it would mean moving or spending more time away, and resultantly disrupting your wife’s career. If so, you need to be able to prove that your potential earning capacity is greater than your actual earnings because of sacrifices you’ve made on your family’s behalf.
- Is your standard of living higher than that which corresponds to your income? If you would have to drastically decrease your standard of living if forced to live off solely your own income, then you may be eligible for alimony. Judges generally support both spouses maintaining the same standard of living after divorce.
- Do you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from reaching your highest potential in the workplace? Especially relevant would be any abuse that you may have suffered at the hands of your wife during the marriage that impedes your ability to work. (In this case, if you live in a fault divorce state, you should consider filing for a fault divorce.)
Another factor that judges consider in allotting alimony is the length of the marriage—the longer you’ve been married the more likely you’ll receive alimony. If you have worked part time for 15 plus years of your marriage to take care of your kids while your wife pursued a successful career then you’ll likely be more successful petitioning for alimony than if you had only been married for a few years.