There are many women in Utah that make more money than their husbands. Some national estimates indicate that as many as 37 percent of women make more money than their spouse. However, there is still an assumption that it is the woman who receives alimony or spousal support when a couple gets a divorce.
Judges may find the need to look outside of the state for decisions made by other state appellate courts for some sort or road map since so few men ask for alimony. A court of appeals decided a case recently that could serve as a useful guideline for Utah judges trying to navigate their way through giving alimony to a man. In the case at issue, a man was awarded alimony as part of a divorce.
The trial court judge recognized that the man may not have a need for alimony, but his ex-wife’s salary was so great that the disparity between her salary and her ex-husband’s salary was significant. He also recognized that the husband’s contributions to the household during the marriage needed to be compensated. On appeal, the court agreed with the judge’s decision indicating that the law does not specify that alimony is to go to women alone.
Sometimes, even when a man asks for alimony, a judge may not award it based on cultural biases that can be difficult to overcome. Any man who overcame those biases and asked for alimony, but was denied it in divorce court may want to consider appealing that decision. There have been many strides in the rights of women over the years, and having to pay alimony may simply be a necessary byproduct of equality. In a society where gender lines are becoming increasingly blurry, the notion of men being given alimony may be an idea whose time has come.
Source: Huffington Post, “Why Don’t More Men Ask For Alimony?” Joseph E. Cordell, June 26, 2013