As women become more successful in the business world, the number of men collecting alimony has gone up. Exact figures are difficult to come by, but divorce lawyers have estimated that the husband is the one awarded spousal support in 5-10% of all cases.
How Alimony is Awarded
While child support payments may be calculated on a formula or a percentage of the non-custodial parent's earnings, the amount of alimony awarded is decided by the judge in each case. In determining the amount of alimony to be paid, the judge will take into account a number of factors, including:
- How long the parties were married
- Whether each spouse is able to support him or herself independently
- Their age and general health
Since both spouses are to be treated equally under the law, alimony is no longer being awarded only to the wife when a marriage breaks down. If a large discrepancy exists between the earnings of the two people involved, then a judge may award alimony to one person in an effort to maintain "the standard of living established during the marriage."
More Men Collecting Alimony
When a woman has achieved success in the corporate world or her own business, she may be ordered to pay alimony to her former husband, at least temporarily. Men who stay at home to raise their children while their spouse works are likely to be given some kind of financial support until they can find work. If they have been out of the workforce for some time, then their former spouse may be looking at making payments for several years to allow the man to go back to school or take a job training course.
In a situation where a person is unable to work due to illness or disability (including a problem with drugs or alcohol), the judge may order that alimony be paid for a longer period of time. The judge can also order that alimony be paid permanently as well.
Paying Alimony versus a Lump-Sum Payment
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, does it make more sense to pay your spouse a lump sum to settle your financial obligation or to make alimony payments? The answer is the same for women and men collecting alimony; it depends on how much you are earning.
Alimony Payments are Tax Deductible
Alimony payments are tax deductible to the person making the payments, and taxable to the person receiving them. If you are earning a substantial income, it may make more sense to make monthly payments and claim the deduction than to make one lump-sum payment or transfer property into your former spouse's name.
Some lawyers have software that is capable of calculating the implications of each course of action to help you understand the total financial picture. An accountant or a financial planner can also help you to get some clarification about what an order to pay alimony would mean in your case.
Requirements for Alimony
In order for a payment to be classified as alimony, there are some requirements that need to be met:
- The payment must be made in the form of cash, a check, or a money order.
- Payments must be made under the provisions of a divorce judgment or a written agreement between the parties.
- The parties must be living at separate addresses during the time the payments are being made.
- Payments must cease on the recipient's death.
- If you and your spouse have filed a joint tax return for a particular tax year, then you cannot claim alimony for that year.
As time goes on, it is likely that the number of men collecting alimony will continue to increase. Successful women must consider this fact before filing for divorce.