Alimony is not a given in many divorces

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Divorce on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

People in Maryland may have seen a recent editorial article in Forbes about the likelihood of spouses, in particular stay-at-home mothers, receiving court-ordered alimony after a divorce. The trend in recent years has been that women, even mothers who have elected to stay at home and raise the children rather than enter the workforce, may not be as likely to receive alimony as they once were. According to recent studies 97 percent of all people in 2010 receiving alimony were women, so this is an issue that clearly affects women more than men after a divorce.

Part of the reason is due to the fact that gender equality in the workforce has been increasing, and in the eyes of many courts, women have as much opportunity to earn a reasonable paycheck as men do. According to the federal Department of Labor, 75 percent of all women in the U.S. work, and in about 40 percent of households a woman is the primary income-earner. So in light of this changing trend, courts may not be as likely to order the ex-husband to pay alimony to their spouse after their divorce.

This is not to say that alimony is never a possibility, and the Maryland courts will still weigh all of the factors involved in each unique divorce. But nonetheless, women should be aware that they may not be able to rely on continuing monthly alimony when they split. This is why women need to take additional care when dealing with other divorce legal issues such as property division.

In every divorce, each spouse is entitled to an equitable distribution of the marital wealth, so for women who may not be able to assume they will receive alimony, making sure they get what they can out of property division is essential, especially since this may constitute the majority of their assets moving forward.

Source: Forbes "Stay-at-Home Mom Facing Divorce? Don't Expect Alimony," Emma Johnson, Oct. 27, 2014