In the last decade, the number of men who stay home while their wives focus on their careers has doubled. Additionally, in 40 percent of dual-income households, women make more money than their husbands do. While these are both signs of societal progress, it has also led to an increasing number of women with a high net worth in New Jersey being ordered by the court to pay alimony if they get a divorce. Some women are surprised and angered by this turn of events, but it is a logical result of the degendering of roles in marriage.
The general idea behind alimony is that one spouse, traditionally the woman, would give up their career and stay at home to take care of the family. If a couple divorced, that individual would not have the benefits of a career to support themselves, so alimony would help make up the difference. However, as times have changed, fewer men and more women with larger incomes are being called upon to provide spousal support.
As gender roles have begun to disappear from marriages, there has also begun a movement to eliminate the requirement to pay alimony altogether, even in high-asset divorces. In some cases of remarriage, the second wife has to contribute some of her income to support her spouse’s previous wife. Still, it is not necessarily unreasonable for a man or woman to expect support if they put their career aside to stay at home.
People going through a divorce have to deal with a number of complicated and volatile issues, which is why an lawyer may be helpful. A divorce lawyer could help people understand state laws regarding divorce and asset division, and they may also be able to help negotiate equitable outcomes.
Source: TIME.com, “The De-Gendering of Divorce: Wives Pay Ex-Husbands Alimony Too“, Liza Mundy, May 16, 2013