Why are men less likely to receive alimony?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2018 | Divorce

Alimony, or spousal support, is an ongoing payment made by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse in the event of a divorce. And though the concept of gender equality has risen significantly in recent decades, the number of men awarded alimony as part of divorce settlement still lags significantly behind their ex-wives. 

According to the U. S. Census, only 3 percent of 400,000 people receiving alimony are men. In the past this would make sense, since it was presumed that the wife would stay home to raise the kids.

But in recent years, studies show that 40 percent of working women are actually the breadwinners for the family. This means more and more men are staying home to take care of their children while their wives are out in the workforce.

In part-one of this two-part series, we will be discussing why men are more unlikely to receive alimony compared to women.


Here are a few reasons why only 3 percent of men get spousal support:

Spousal support is “emasculating”

Attorneys are saying that some men will deny spousal support even if the difference in income warrants it. This can be blamed on leftover biases from other eras, of men who don’t think it’s manly or it’s a sign of weakness to accept financial assistance from a woman. They find the thought of seeking or asking for alimony emasculating. Ressa and Lee Rosen, a Raleigh, North Carolina based lawyer and author of Divorcing Smartly: The End of a Marriage Isn’t the End of the World, state that very few men ever walk into their office with the intent of seeking alimony from their ex-spouse, even if they are eligible.

Breadwinning women put up a fight

Another reason why men are more unlikely to get alimony is because their breadwinning female counterparts are more likely to battle it in court, whereas, men are more likely to settle. So when women push back hard against a man contesting for alimony, men are even more humiliated to continue the process, feeling even more emasculated.

Pursuit of a new life

One of the benefits of a divorce is being able to look forward and move ahead, starting a new chapter of life. Some men refuse alimony because they believe it will act as an anchor tethering them to a part of their past they’d rather forget. Also, some men believe that alimony will only hinder the chance of co-parenting in the future, establishing a good relationship with the ex-spouse for the children involved.

Every man has their own reason for not receiving alimony, whether they denied it themselves, or the court did.

In part two of this series, we’ll discuss the recent rising trend in men fight for – and getting – alimony awards.