Four hundred thousand people are getting spousal maintenance payments from their ex-spouses in the United States. However, only 3 percent of these spousal support recipients are men.

Nevertheless, in 40 percent of United States households, women are the highest earning spouses in the relationship. This implies that hundreds of thousands of ex-husbands could be receiving alimony, yet they don’t pursue it.

Why aren’t men standing up for their right to receive alimony?

Family law attorneys agree that the reasons stem from a mix of male pride, societal concepts of gender roles and, sometimes, family court judges issuing sexist rulings that prevent men from getting alimony when they might otherwise, and arguably, have the right, to receive it.

According to one family law attorney, our society is still getting used to the idea of gender equality. In the space of perceived gender roles, if a man is not the breadwinner, he is not considered successful. Also, seeking alimony might be viewed as emasculating by many men.

Example of a man who didn’t seek alimony

In one example scenario, a man who could have sought alimony payments explained why he didn’t try to get it. This man agreed to stay home, leave his public school teaching job and raise his family’s two kids as a stay-at-home daddy. That’s because his wife was the higher earning spouse, and she was pulling an income of $100,000-plus annually. When his wife filed to divorce him, he was financially ruined and even received an allowance of cash from his parents.

His reason for not seeking alimony was simple enough in his own words, “I’d love to have that money, but I’d never hit a girl and I’d never beg from a girl — and I see palimony as begging.”

You might want to consider alimony as a man

The concept of gender is changing in the United States, and that means that many men are finding themselves in the difficult financial situations that stay-at-home moms find themselves in when faced with divorce. Or, they find themselves left high and dry after devoting their lives to a high-earning spouse. If you’re facing a difficult financial circumstance as a result of your divorce, you might want to consider seeking spousal support payments as a man. It may be well within your legal — as well as moral — rights.

Source: Forbes, “Why Do So Few Men Get Alimony?,” Emma Johnson, accessed Aug. 22, 2017