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Despite a need, men may be less likely to ask for alimony

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There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding the divorce process that some of today's readers may have heard or believed. One such stereotype is that alimony is only awarded to women during divorce proceedings. In most counties across the nation, including here in Montgomery County, it might even be considered laughable to even think that a man would ask for spousal support.

As was pointed out in a 2014 article in Forbes, only 3 percent of men receive spousal maintenance in the United States. But in many households, women are considered the "breadwinner," making more money than their husbands. If this is the case, then why are so few men receiving alimony payments after a divorce? Let's take a look at one leading theory.

According to some, gender stereotypes could be the leading reason why so few men ask for alimony payments despite the fact that they may need it after divorcing a spouse. In our society, despite increased gender diversity in the workplace, men are still expected to be breadwinners. It's considered masculine, by many, for men to make more than women. Therefore, asking for alimony may be emasculating to a man, causing him to avoid the subject of spousal maintenance during divorce negotiations.

Consider this as well: most people agree that in instances of divorce, the spouse who makes less in income, or was out of work for a lengthy period of time during the course of a marriage, should receive alimony payments. But as you probably realize, the gender stereotype above creates a paradox. In a situation such as this, it would be acceptable for a woman to ask for alimony. It would be considered unacceptable for a man to do the same.

Because it could take years or even generations before this perception changes, it's important for our readers now to always remember that our state's laws are written in such a way that provides unbiased rules for determining alimony requests. Getting legal representation though oftentimes ensures that fairness is enforced.

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