Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Breadwinning Moms vs. Alimony

More signs of the times:

The idea that men can receive spousal support from their wives may feel like a freakish concept, but as women have become higher earners, it's increasingly common.

And as men set their sights on women's earnings, women have become more protective of those dollars. In fact, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 44% of attorneys included in a recent survey said they've seen an increase in women asking for prenuptial agreements over the last five years, where in previous decades, prenuptial agreements were almost always sought by men.

A lot of women are indignant now that the shoe is increasingly on the other foot, says Carol Ann Wilson, a certified financial divorce practitioner in Boulder, Colo. "There's this sense of, 'What's yours is ours, but what's mine is mine,'" Wilson says. "My first response to that is, 'All these years we have been looking for equality; well, this is what it looks like.' I think women get angrier about having to pay than men do."


Wilson emphasizes that it's not just actresses or the wealthiest women who are seeking prenuptial agreements or paying spousal support. "I've seen thousands of clients," she says, "and almost every time I've seen a stay-at-home dad seek alimony, the wife--she's usually a software executive--goes ballistic."


Just as some women object to men's request for spousal support, some men are particularly uncomfortable seeking it. Either they find it emasculating to ask, or they find the idea of receiving an allowance from their ex-wives humiliating, according to divorce attorneys.

"The fact is that you still don't see too many cases where men seek alimony," says William Beslow, a divorce attorney in New York City. "One reason is that although women may earn more than men, they often wind up with custody of the children, and when a woman takes up primary responsibility for the children, men don't request maintenance."

No comments: