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Financial support should not be a gender issue

In marriage, spouses in Illinois may have to make some major compromises in their careers for the sake of their relationship. When the relationship ends, though, the effects of those decisions do not. Spousal support is intended to provide balance so that neither spouse suffers a significant standard-of-living decrease after the divorce.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, the court may award alimony to either spouse without regard to gender. It is based on many factors in the relationship, but the calculation of the amount is made using pre-set percentages of the spouses' earnings. The length of time that the support lasts is calculated based on how many years the couple was married.

Some people may be surprised to hear this because alimony typically goes to the wife. In fact, according to Forbes magazine, 97 percent of Americans receiving alimony are female. Given that 60 percent of the breadwinners in the US are male, this seems skewed. 

Perhaps traditional gender roles have created biases, conscious or unconscious, that have affected judges' decisions. While this could account for some of the disparity, part of the issue may be that men are not seeking alimony, even when they actually need it.

For many, asking for support from a soon-to-be ex-wife may affect their pride. Others say that accepting the support ties them to their former spouses when they are eager to start fresh. However, giving up a promising career is no small matter, and at least 3 percent of the husbands in America agree that it is a sacrifice that should be compensated.

 

 

 

 

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