Blogs Family Law

Women Paying Alimony. A Double Standard?

This past week I mediated a divorce involving a long-term marriage where the wife and mother had a much higher income compared to her husband.  Her husband also had some serious emotional issues.  The primary concern of the wife throughout the proceeding was that she did not want to pay alimony to her ex-husband as a result of her high earnings.

I was finally able to settle the case with the wife not having to make any alimony payments to her ex, but there was a trade-off to this. The wife ended up having to give the husband more of their marital property in return for no alimony.  It was a compromise that made sense for both parties and left them with no further financial obligations to each other.  After the case was settled and I was talking to the parties, the wife told me she felt that she was getting a raw deal.  I told her that I have had numerous cases over the years where a wife has been ordered to pay alimony where the facts call for it.

Times When a Woman May Have to Pay Alimony to Her Ex-Husband

Examples include marriages where the wife is the main breadwinner and the husband takes on the role of the homemaker.  Other cases involve women who have high-income careers and their husbands earned a much lower income.

Clearly, one size does not fit all in divorce proceedings. Where I practice more and more judges are gender neutral and will order a wife to pay alimony where the facts support it.  I think that is often a hard pill for a woman to swallow because it is not the way it used to be.

Let me pose some questions to you:

  • Should women pay alimony where the facts support it?
  • Should women be treated the same as men where they are the main support of the family?
  • Do you feel that there is gender bias in this area?


Over the years I have seen that nobody likes to pay alimony.  It is like paying for someone after the marriage is over and it is not the same as child support.  You definitely have an obligation to your children.  Should you have a similar obligation to your former spouse?

Things to consider when determining who will pay alimony in a divorce include the following:

  1. The length of the marriage
  2. The disparity in incomes
  3. The ages of each spouse
  4. The health and needs of each spouse
  5. Your life style and what you are accustomed to
  6. What is the reason for the divorce?  Is there fault for example?
  7. Is there a need to help a spouse complete or obtain an education?
  8. Is there a need to help someone go back into the job market?


Shouldn’t this be equal for a man or a woman?  These are some of my thoughts.  What are yours?

Contact Top Bloomfield Hills Divorce Attorneys Today

Divorce proceedings will, no doubt, continue to evolve. If you are looking for a law firm which keeps up-to-date with the evolution of divorce proceedings, look no further than the Cronin Law Firm. We will fiercely advocate for your rights while attempting to negotiate an amicable separation wherever possible. Contact us today for your free consultation today.

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