Do men really get alimony from their wives? Or since marriage equality — their husbands? It is a fairly frequent question that has been asked over the years here in New Jersey.
What’s the answer?
All laws in New Jersey with regard to marriage, divorce, child custody parenting time, or really any family law issue are gender neutral and they are gender neutral by design. No one law can exist on the books that favors one gender over another, or else it may be viewed by the courts as discriminatory. Long gone are the days of the “tender years doctrine” where judges routinely awarded custody of very young children to their mothers automatically, believing that the child needed to be cared for only by their mother during these those early years.
Today, experts and courts agree that children thrive with both parents, and no favor can be given to one sex or another. The same goes for alimony. The law that governs alimony sets forth a number of alimony factors for the courts to consider when making a determination regarding alimony and not one of those factors is gender. At its most basic, the decision whether or not to grant alimony to one spouse is based upon the need for financial support, the other party’s ability to pay the support and the requirement that both of the couple be kept as close to the marital standard of living as possible.
It is difficult to financially maintain two homes much less one. But, courts do not want to see one spouse, who may earn a very high salary, benefit from the divorce, while the other spouse, who may have been a stay-at-home parent or a full-time student live in poverty.
In our modern society, which member of the married couple that earns more money is certainly no longer based upon gender and neither is the decision to become a stay-at-home parent. More and more men are choosing to forego the “traditional” 9-5 and choosing to care for their kids full-time. Again, with the rise of same-sex couples, this issue has become largely irrelevant, anyway.
Getting the Spousal Support You Need
Men in need should not be ashamed, embarrassed or afraid to ask for financial support. Perhaps you supported your wife while she completed her medical school degree and were promised the ability to get your master’s degree when she was settled in her career. Now, you have split and she is earning a doctor’s wages. It is only fair that you should at least be provided the opportunity to go back to school and get your own career on track, while she support you through the process, just as you supported her.
Plainly and simply, if there is a sizeable income disparity between husband and wife, the party earning more money could be on the hook for paying spousal support, regardless of gender. And, both men and women have the same burden to prove to the court that they need alimony from their spouse.
Have questions about alimony or divorce? We’re here to help. Please contact us to schedule your confidential consultation with one of our experienced and qualified family law attorneys. Take the first step towards a secure new future. Call today: 888-888-0919.