Divorce law is changing with the times…or is it? Not so long ago, when a husband divorced his wife, he paid alimony so she could live “in the style to which she was accustomed.” These alimony payments were often an ex-wife’s sole source of support in an America where most women didn’t work. Today, not only do more than 60% of women work, many earn more than their husbands. In the current economic downturn, it is not uncommon for a man to be unemployed while his wife’s career is flourishing and she is able to be the family’s main financial provider. Stay-at-home dads are no longer an anomaly. And when marriages like this end in divorce, it is becoming an increasingly common practice for higher-earning divorced women to pay alimony to their lower-earning ex-husbands, sometimes referred to as ‘malimony’ or ‘manimony’.
Manimony isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since the passage of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act in 1970, but alimony provisions in celebrity divorce settlements like Britney Spears—who has to pay $40,000 per month to ex-husband Kevin Federline— have brought the issue into the national consciousness. With more women paying alimony to ex-husbands, ABC TV news in New York recently discussed with us this growing phenomena: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/lifestyle&id=8824963
Many of our successful female clients, who would be required to pay alimony, are generally under the belief that their ex-husband should be able to support themselves. Meanwhile some men are ashamed to ask for manimony, finding it somewhat emasculating. With alimony reform under discussion in many states, we know that our state of New Jersey does allow judges some discretion on how to order alimony payments to a former spouse, along with determining how much is paid and for how long.
Alimony issues can be complex, so consider discussing your situation with a lawyer skilled in this specific area before proceeding.
References and further information:
Alimony Factors in New Jersey: http://www.weinbergerlawgroup.com/Divorce-and-Separation/Alimony-Maintenance-Spousal-Support.html
Tables Turned: Higher-Earning Women Now Paying Alimony to Ex-Husbands: http://www.prweb.com/releases/weinbergerlawgroup/alimony-manimony/prweb9966715.htm
Bari Zell Weinberger is the Managing Partner of Weinberger Law Group in New Jersey. She is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and the Associate Author of the New Jersey Family Law Practice, a five-volume reference guide used by virtually every family law judge and lawyer in NJ. She can be reached at (888) 888-0919. View her firm’s Divorce Magazine profile and website.