Wives can make more money than their husbands. Often the reverse is true, especially when women take lower paying jobs to have greater flexibility to care for children, or simply because they act as homemakers or support to building their husband’s careers.
In today's society, men can become stay at home dads, or the part-time workers in the home. They can be homemakers, or they may simply lack the skills that translate to better paying jobs. When marriages end, and the wife's income is greater than her husband's, this may result in alimony payments from the wife to the husband, or so-called manimony.
Manimony is a new term to describe alimony paid to men, which first gained prominence in the late 2000s. While it was more common for the custodial parent to ask for child support from the non-custodial parent, asking for payments above child support may be difficult for some men.
The basis for granting any type of alimony depends on the state in which the divorce is pursued, and to some extent, discrimination in the courts may exist against men who ask for manimony or spousal support. However, state laws may not be in favor of one spouse or the other, and may be less gender specific in determining the entitlement of one partner over the other. Nevertheless, some men would rather not receive manimony due to stigma, or would rather compromise by getting more time with any children of the marriage instead of payment. Others receive both payment and fair division of custody, and some, particularly if they have played a supportive role in their wives’ careers, feel they are justly entitled to spousal support.
For the spouse earning less income, living circumstances can swiftly and dramatically change for the worse. Many state laws have provisions for paying alimony to maintain the standard of living previously held in the marriage. The extent to which alimony or manimony continues may be limited by years of the marriage, or by the actions of the spouse receiving alimony. If a spouse remarries, alimony may be discontinued, though child support payments may remain the same.
The term manimony expresses some basic held prejudices in thinking. By adding a gender take on alimony, the word implies that there is something different or unusual in a man earning less income than his wife. These perceptions are changing with the times, especially because many women have become tremendously successful in their careers. Yet, the term also expresses this idea that there are some inherent problems for some men who could claim the need for alimony, and some men, despite a drastic change in circumstances, may not ask for it, simply because to do so would seem less masculine.