A study conducted using United States Labor Force Statistics shows that just under 30% of women out earn their husbands annually. With the growing trend of women being the major breadwinners in a married couple, it comes as no surprise that they are also footing the bill for such things as alimony (referred to as maintenance in New York), and temporary spousal or child support.
Alimony was created to help support a housewife after the dissolution of her marriage during a time when women were expected to take care of the household and children while her husband earned an income. This model of living has been referred to as “Separate Spheres”. As per their divorce agreement, the woman would be paid a percentage of her ex-spouse’s income to help her maintain a lifestyle and home (and if need be, support her children).
Now that husbands and wives are both earning an income, some are pushing to abolish alimony all together. Both women and men are arguing that alimony be taken off of the table in divorce proceedings where both spouses are able to support themselves with earned incomes. Additionally, the subject of terminating permanent alimony, meaning a person would no longer have to pay their former spouse a sum for the rest of their life, comes into play. While no such law exists in New York, some states like Massachusetts have banned permanent alimony. In doing so, a financial burden has been lifted from the shoulders of many people who were forced to give their former spouse a percentage of their earnings.
Divorce settlements can differ greatly and are unique to each individual situation. Accordingly, divorce and alimony laws are different depending on where you live, so it is recommended that you obtain an attorney who is authorized to practice law in your state.