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Is it acceptable for a man to ask for alimony payments?

Every society has its faux pas, which determine what is considered acceptable behavior and what might be frowned upon by the majority of people. From table etiquette to the jobs deemed acceptable for men and women, societal faux pas can put considerable pressure on people, especially when societal norms have changed.

Take for example requests for alimony. The introduction of alimony in many states happened during a time when the workforce was dominated by men. Most women stayed home to take care of the children and household. During this time, when married couples divorced, it was deemed socially acceptable for a woman to ask for alimony payments. That's because most women lacked the necessary education and skills needed to join the workforce and make an income of their own.

Times have changed though. Women now make up a significant portion of the total U.S. workforce. The participation rate among women is high as well; and by 2022, women are expected to make up a little less than 47 percent of the total labor force. This begs the question then: is it acceptable for a man to ask for alimony payments? And the answer is yes.

As we explained in a May 24, 2013 post, in some households, men are not considered the bread winners. In fact, with the switch in gender roles, it may be the man who stays home with the kids rather than the woman. In a situation such as this, the same circumstances for woman years ago may be true for some men now: they lack the necessary skills and experience to jump right into the workforce after a divorce. It's because of this that it may be considered acceptable for a man to request alimony payments.

Source: The United States Department of Labor, "Latest Annual Data, Women of Working Age," Accessed June 19, 2015