It is natural for a woman who gave up her career to tend to the home to believe she will get spousal support after a divorce. After all, she lost a significant amount of income and perhaps gave up her peak earning years in Pennsylvania to care for the family. Even without a family, she may have followed her husband across the country or around the world for his work, making it almost impossible for her to hold down one of her own.
However, Forbes notes that stay-at-home moms should no longer expect alimony, regardless of the circumstances. Many states are revisiting their old laws on spousal support, many of which have not been updated since earning potential has increased for women in the workplace, and since some women have out-earned their partners. Today, three-quarters of women participate in the workforce and there are more women with college degrees than men.
Subsequently, many judges are now admonishing women for not seeking employment after a divorce. They may believe that being a caretaker does not exempt women from the need to support themselves and their families. Even when judges grant alimony, it may not be a permanent arrangement. In fact, some couples are now more in favor of a one-time lump sum settlement.
One Forbes article implies that the dying out of alimony may actually be because of other women. Ironically, this is tied to the increase of women judges in the court room. Many of these judges are married women with families, and they believe that if they can keep up a career, other women can and should.
While alimony is a long way from disappearing, women should nonetheless not come to expect it. People who believe it is an outdated system say that by getting rid of it, more able-bodied women would return to the workforce and be financially responsible for themselves.
There may be some truth to that line of thinking. However, in instances where women made sacrifices for their husbands and dependents, it seems unfair to not provide some compensation later in life when they must care for themselves.