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Men, women and alimony: what's the norm?

Should a man be entitled to spousal support if his former spouse earned more than he did? While Florida law does not prevent men from seeking and receiving alimony, historically, most alimony awards across the nation have gone to women. However, the 1950s are long gone, and men are no longer necessarily primary earners who are married to women that do not work outside the home.

 In a recent news article, a Lakeland, Florida man shared his alimony experience. After his 22-year marriage ended, his lifestyle and standard of living changed dramatically. He claimed to have sacrificed his own career for his wife’s, and while he continued to work full-time, he delayed career advancement in order to care for the couple’s daughter while his wife traveled for work. Had the roles been reversed, alimony would likely have been awarded to his wife in order to give her the financial means to restart her career and reestablish her own income stream. 

According to the newspaper report detailing this man's divorce story, he considered petitioning for alimony but was ridiculed by a family member for raising the idea; his ex-wife also made it clear that she'd put up a fight in family court. Whether he has actually pursued spousal support or not remains unclear.

It goes without saying that neither men nor women should be bullied into giving up their right to spousal support. If there is a legal obligation on either spouse's part to pay alimony, it should be raised and explored during your divorce proceedings. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side can make this process much easier and less stressful.

Source: The Ledger, "Man's Sacrifices Not Recognized During Divorce," Gary White, June 8, 2013