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Does gender influence alimony awards?

There are many myths about divorce. These myths endure in part because of the stigma that still surrounds divorce, as well as the history.

For example, one of the most common myths is that alimony is based on gender. Many people assumed that women are more likely to receive alimony after a divorce. This may have been true in the past. After all, in the early to mid-1900s, many women did not work or earn an income of their own. If they faced divorce, they were more likely to receive alimony from their spouses. However, this is not necessarily true anymore.

The times, they are a-changing

Women may have been more likely to receive alimony in the past, but a 2018 study found that was no longer the case. MarketWatch reported that more and more women nowadays are paying both alimony and child support.

While it is still common knowledge that women still earn less than many men in their fields, many women earn more than their husbands. The report stated that in nearly 4 in 10 households, women were the primary breadwinners. This increase in women’s earnings has a direct correlation to the increase of their alimony obligations over the years.

Gender is no longer a factor in alimony awards

Alimony awards are based on finances. A spouse’s gender does not play a role in whether or not they receive alimony. North Carolina law states the specific factors that family courts consider, including but not limited to:

  • Spouse’s current earnings and earning capacity
  • Their standard of living
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Financial contributions made in the marriage
  • A spouse’s misconduct, such as adultery

Regardless of gender, a spouse who earns significantly less than their soon-to-be-ex-spouse can request alimony. It is important to note that alimony is not always awarded. Even so, individuals should understand all of the factors that inform decisions about alimony as they pursue a divorce.