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The enigma of alimony

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Divorce |

Even though it’s the 21st century and women have come a long way regarding equal rights, many high-earning married females are clearly surprised by one issue, should their marriages come to an end. In Virginia, many women earn as much as or more than their spouses, so should the couple decide to divorce and the woman is ordered to pay alimony to her former spouse, she could be shocked. In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled alimony as being gender-neutral; however, some experts say that a significant percentage of women never really believe they will have to pay it. 

The Kelly Clarkson case 

Singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson’s divorce from former husband, Brandon Blackstock, is a case where Clarkson was ordered to pay Blackstock $150,000 a month in alimony and $45,000 per month in child support, even though she was given primary physical custody of their two kids. Clarkson’s income is $1.9 million a month. 

It’s still stigmatized 

Even though the laws around alimony changed in the late 70s, society still has a way to go in accepting that a man could be supported by his former wife. For instance, Blackstock has been on the receiving end of vicious comments on social media for suing Clarkson for support. A Harvard sociology professor contends this is likely because of societal ideas of gender and the expectation that men should be the main breadwinners in the family. It has been shown, too, that family court judges are often more harsh on a man who is asking for alimony, and if awarded, it is often less than what a woman would likely get and for a shorter time. 

Then there are those who believe equal rights mean equal responsibilities, so no one should be paying anyone anything. In spite of all of the above, divorce is often accompanied by a certain amount of alimony. An experienced family law attorney can help those going through divorce fight for a fair amount of alimony. One’s attorney can also work toward getting court approval to change an existing order for alimony payments if certain life circumstances have changed since the order was originally established.