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As gender roles change, so have attitudes about alimony

When a person makes the difficult decision to seek a divorce, they may think that the hardest part is over and that they won't be called upon to make these kinds of trying decisions for the remainder of the process.

While it would be nice if this were the case, the reality is that most people going through a divorce are going to have to make at least a few difficult decisions concerning such important issues as property division, child custody/visitation and, of course, spousal maintenance.

Interestingly, many legal experts are now saying that the difficulty accompanying requests for spousal maintenance is no longer as one-sided as it used to be thanks to evolving social mores.

Specifically, they have found that more men than ever are now requesting spousal maintenance due to the reversal of traditional gender roles in U.S. many households.

"More fathers stay at home, and more women earn more than their husbands," said one family law attorney. "This shift in the economic balance naturally leads to a shift in the proportion of husbands seeking support."

If this seems hard to believe, consider that a 2013 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 47 percent of its 1,600-member members reported seeing an uptick in the number of women paying spousal maintenance.

Even though the attitudes toward spousal maintenance are evolving, experts say that many men still remain initially reluctant to request spousal maintenance in a divorce. However, they have also found that many just as quickly reverse course when they see what a difference it can make in their day-to-day lives.

Experts also indicate that this evolution concerning spousal maintenance is not just limited to those men with children to take care of, but also includes men without children who simply need a financial cushion while they get back into the workforce. Here, this rehabilitative alimony can help them stay afloat until they find a suitable job.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree that gender bias has become largely a thing of the past in relation to alimony?

If you would like to learn more about divorce, property division or spousal maintenance here in New York, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can answer your questions, explain your rights and fight on your behalf.

Source: The Financial Times, "More men getting alimony from their ex-wives," Geoff Williams, Jan. 4, 2014

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