NPO in the media

CNN Quotes Holstein on Women Who Pay Alimony

May 28, 2008

Atlanta, GA.–The new CNN article Some ex-wives have to pay ‘manimony’ (5/22/08) discusses women who pay alimony. In the article, Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Executive Director of Fathers & Families, points to inequities in the family law system, explaining, “Thirty-three percent of higher-earning spouses are women, but fewer than four percent of alimony payers are women.” Ned’s quote was taken from his recent blog post The Wall Street Journal on Alimony: How Many Women Must Pay?, where he wrote:

“The Wall Street Journal ran two articles on divorce and missed the real meaning of each.

“Page 1 noted that 33 percent of higher-earning spouses, but only 3.8 percent of alimony-payers, are women (Men Receiving Alimony Want a Little Respect). A male weakness is asserted as the reason for this discrepancy: it”s all due to male shame, according to the article.

“A better explanation is that family courts will rarely order women to pay men, as they are still stuck in old stereotyped gender roles. Also, men trade away alimony for more time with their children, another prize that family courts often refuse them.

“Here”s an interesting sidelight. A top-ranking New York family court judge says that women ordered to pay alimony are angrier about it than men. (This clip can be viewed here.) So much for the mad-dad stereotype.

“On page D9 of the same edition, the Journal reported that almost twice as many women with professional degrees are separated or divorced compared to men with these degrees (Women MBA”s More Liable to Divorce than Men). Again, the asserted reason is an alleged male character flaw–fragile ego”s causing them to leave successful wives.

“But since women seek 70 percent of divorces, the real story is that wives are the ones doing the leaving. So yet another male character flaw is offered– the fast-track wives are leaving because men allegedly don”t give them enough TLC. But maybe a better reason is back on page 1–the professional wives leave more often because they know they won”t have to pay alimony. And they will get the kids, house and child support.”

CNN also writes:

“Some husbands have settled for increased custody instead of going to the mat for money, says Holstein.

“‘I hear a lot of men say, ‘She earns way more than I do, but I wasn’t going to ask for alimony because I get the kids 40 percent of the time and I don’t want to rock the boat.'”

This is a common problem. Fathers often settle for far less than they’re entitled to–or, more commonly, they pay more in child support and alimony than they could or should be paying–because they want to retain access to their kids, and to do that you need to make sure mom isn’t angry.

The full CNN article is Some ex-wives have to pay ‘manimony’ (5/22/08).

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