Report: Men are eligible for alimony in California, but don’t ask for it

Recent reports state that gender stereotypes may be keeping men from asking for alimony payments from their former partners.

According to a report in Forbes magazine, gender stereotypes remain strong, especially when it comes to spousal support. Hundreds of thousands of men in California and across the country probably qualify for alimony, but only 3 percent of the 400,000 people who receive such payments are men.

No matter what a spouse’s gender is, it is important to understand what California’s laws are regarding spousal support. Failing to do so could mean missing out on much-needed money.

Gender breakdown

Experts suggest that there are several reasons that women are far more likely to receive alimony than their male counterparts. In some cases, it could simply be male pride that keeps men from requesting the payments. For example, Forbes magazine profiled a 53-year-old man who said he would never ask for money from his former spouse, even though he ate canned soup and potato chips for dinner for years following the end of his marriage.

However, a 2012 survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that women are increasingly responsible for making spousal support payments. The AAML surveyed its members, who stated that over the course of the previous three years, there had been a 47 percent jump in the number of women making alimony payments.

Requesting support in California

In California, the courts state that a spouse must make a legal case if he or she wishes to receive alimony in addition to his or her share of marital property. The state allows for both spousal and partner support, which can be awarded as part of an annulment, a legal separation, a divorce or following a restraining order based on domestic violence.

California judges may award what is known as temporary support while the case is ongoing. After the case is finalized, the support is referred to as either long-term or permanent support.

Determining payments in California

The Judicial Branch of California reports that there are several factors that a judge will consider when determining support payments. Those include the following:

  • The length of the marriage or domestic partnership
  • The skills of the spouse requesting support and the climate of the job market that matches those skills
  • Any training the recipient may need to get a job
  • What, if any, effect that unemployment during the marriage may have had on the recipient’s ability to get a job

California law states that support payments will last for a reasonable period of time. In many cases, that adds up to half the length of the marriage. However, if a marriage or partnership has lasted 10 years or longer, a judge may not set an end date to the payments. California gives a judge the ability to cater the length of alimony payments to each situation.

Anyone who has questions regarding alimony in California should speak with a family law attorney.