With more women in the workforce and men sacrificing their careers to raise the children, spousal support trends are constantly changing. In as many as 40% of American households, women are the breadwinners. Clearly, the stereotypes about who needs alimony are outdated and must be overlooked if we hope to support men as they go through a divorce.
Here’s what you need to know about spousal support and how it’s changing in the 2020s.
More Men are Seeking Support
As more women are becoming the primary breadwinners in their household, we’ve seen an increase in the number of men who request spousal support during their divorce. Still, men make up a very small percentage of the total number of ex-spouses who receive spousal support during and/or after their divorce. If we want the laws surrounding spousal support to be effective in supporting spouses who are facing financial challenges during divorce, judges must be willing to grant support to men who gave up pursuing their careers to support their wives.
Although many men in New Jersey are well within their rights to request spousal support if their ex-wife earns more, they often allow their pride or societal expectations to get in the way. Support is meant to help you reach your full potential after your divorce. Don’t think of it as a “handout” from your ex. You supported her in her career while you were married, so you deserve to be financially supported as you reenter the workforce or obtain additional education or training.
Permanent Support Is Becoming Outdated
Many men, especially those undergoing a high asset divorce, dread paying spousal support because they believe it will tether them to their ex forever. Most of us think of spousal support or alimony as a neverending monthly payment. While some states do still allow for “permanent alimony,” most are moving toward a more temporary approach. Prior to these reforms, your support payments would only end when a spouse passed away or if the payee remarried. Now, judges award support based on the length of the marriage, and the duration of your payments should not exceed the number of years you’ve been married.
Even if you expect to have to pay spousal support, you have the right to negotiate an alternative during mediation. If you would prefer to pay a lump sum, for example, your spouse may agree to forego alimony payments.
Support Orders May Be Easier to Modify
Changes to local laws and divorce trends may have also made the courts more sympathetic to requests to modify spousal support agreements. The paying spouse can have their agreements modified or eliminated if:
- They lose their job
- Their income changes
- They become disabled or ill
If your circumstances have changed since the spousal support order was enacted, your lawyer can help you request a modification to the support agreement. An increase in your ex-spouse’s income is also an appropriate reason for requesting a modification.
Even if you’ve been divorced for a while, it may be worth discussing your alimony payments with a divorce lawyer for men in New Jersey. If your situation has changed, your “permanent” alimony may be successfully modified to cause you less financial burden in the future.
Family law reform, including spousal support changes, will continue in the years to come. Many states are moving to order support payments only when they are absolutely necessary, and only for a short period of time. The Micklin Law Group’s attorneys for men in New Jersey believe this will make divorce easier on men in the present and the future.