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How shifting alimony trends could affect Minnesota couples

Family dynamics have changed significantly over time. Just a generation ago, issues like child custody, alimony and divorce were discussed very differently than they are today. But that does not mean that they are any less confusing for people across Minnesota. In fact, these changes can leave people with more questions about what their options are in certain situations.

For example, many people have questions regarding alimony. Years ago, certain spouses may have never considered requesting spousal maintenance. Men, for instance, were often the breadwinners in a household managed by their wives. In the event of a divorce, it was common for husbands to pay ex-wives spousal support. But studies show that in recent years, husbands have been the ones pursuing support. 

According to sources, nearly half of surveyed family law attorneys reported seeing an increase in men receiving spousal maintenance from ex-wives in recent years. And while statistics from 2010 suggest that only 3 percent of alimony recipients are men, it is likely that that number has and will continue to increase.

There are a number of reasons that this shift could be taking place. Increasingly, women are earning the bigger paycheck and men are the ones who may be changing or giving up careers to stay at home to care for children. And while there may have been a time when a stigma was attached to men who received alimony from ex-wives, it seems to be dissipating. Many people understand that a more financially successful spouse may be required to support an ex for a period of time after a divorce in order to help him or her adjust after a split. Whether it is a man or woman who receives alimony does not seem to be a concern for many people.

But it can still be difficult for any person to understand what his or her options are when it comes to paying or receiving spousal maintenance. It is not mandatory, but it could be appropriate in many cases. Those who have questions about this or other family law issues can speak with an attorney to explore their options.

Source: Financial Post, "More men getting alimony from their ex-wives," Geoff Williams, Jan. 4, 2014

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