Ladies Should Make Their Own Money in Case of Divorce

In Massachusetts, it used to be that a man could marry a woman, divorce her three years later, have no children, and still owe her alimony for the rest of his life, even if she remarried. Now it's capped. And good riddance to it, too.

The fact is, a woman is just as capable of getting back on her feet, getting a job, and living her life after a divorce as a man is. The idea that she needs a lifetime of his money is sexist. 

Of course, there are exceptions. Women who have been married a long time, have children, and put their career on the shelf in order to raise those kids need an economic boost to get back on their feet. But the answer is actually simple: Don't do that.

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I was a stay-at-home mom for three years, so I am certainly well-versed in the reasons to stay home with a child. But the fact is, it did put my husband and me in an imbalance.

Every time I wanted to buy a pair of shoes, I had to ask him. I didn't have my own money. It was "household money," sure. And he rarely played the "I make the money" card. But he had it to play.

As women, it's silly to pretend like divorce can't happen to us. And when a woman has a child, her earning potential goes down significantly just because of that fact alone. So why would she voluntarily give up what little money she makes, too?

There are ways to be involved with a child and still make a little money on the side. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. A woman can teach a night course or work from home or work part-time. There are many, many options that don't equal daycare and a full-time job. But this idea that families can survive on one income alone and the man should be the breadwinner and provide for a woman and his children for the entire course of her life is a little 1950s.

Sure, alimony is needed to help a woman get back on her feet after devoting herself to her family to help her husband develop his career or finish his school, etc. Every divorce is complicated and individual. But the cases in which "lifetime alimony" is needed are likely few and far between.

In the end, even in a marriage, we are responsible for ourselves and keeping our skills fresh. It's hard to claim victim-hood 20 years after a four-year marriage ends. Marriage isn't foolproof. It's important to keep skills fresh and is just as much his responsibility as hers.

Do you think lifetime alimony is outdated?

 

Image via steakpinball/Flickr

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