Will You Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband?


Think that you might be on the hook for alimony or spousal support after your divorce? The new tax bill that was signed into law at the end of 2017 states that the spouse paying alimony won’t get a tax deduction for the payments. This change applies to all support agreements made after December 31st, 2018. If your alimony agreement was official  before December 31st, 2018, then the spouse receiving the alimony will pay taxes on the money and the alimony-paying spouse will get to deduct the sum!

Ladies, we have been making some serious progress when it comes to income over the last few decades, but with great paychecks come great responsibilities! If you are a high earning woman considering divorce, don’t be surprised if your soon-to-be ex asks for alimony (also known as “spousal support”).

Many of today’s women are Leaning In like champs, climbing the corporate ladder, and bringing home big paychecks. A Pew Research study conducted in 2013 found that women are the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of households. Additionally, another Pew Research study found that up to 2 million men in 2012 were stay-at-home dads, raising their children while their wives worked.

While alimony has historically been a benefit provided to women after a divorce, that concept is changing! Lynne Gold-Bikin, a family law attorney at WolfBlock LLP was quoted in Divorce 360 as saying, “When I started practicing 30 years ago, I didn’t see it at all. Zero. And now I see it in about 10 percent of my cases – female clients having to pay their ex-husbands support.”

There’s even a nickname for it – “manimony.”

Will you have to pay up when you divorce your husband?

Income Inequality

Alimony and spousal support laws are different in every state, but judges typically award alimony based on the prevailing laws in their state, and gender shouldn’t make a difference in the award. Alimony is awarded on a number of factors including the length of a couple’s marriage and the income disparity between the ex-spouses. In other words, the longer you were married and the more your income exceeds your spouse’s,  the more likely it may be that you will be writing checks to him each month.

The idea of paying manimony may be frustrating to women, but the entire purpose of alimony is to help the lower income spouse get back on his or her feet. If your husband was a stay-at-home dad, he may need to go back to school to brush up on job skills, or it could take many months before he finds employment.

Take heart in the knowledge that most alimony awards only last a certain amount of time and cease if your spouse remarries. Also, if you lose your job or take a big pay cut, you can petition the court to lower or eliminate your alimony payments.

The Price of Being Stronger and In Charge

Yes, paying alimony to your ex-husband can be frustrating, but there is a silver lining here. The fact that you may be required to pay alimony at all suggests that you are in a strong financial position. Unlike many women who must adapt to a much more financially restricted lifestyle after a divorce, you may actually find that you are better off on your own. Or at least you won’t see your quality of living drop drastically. In a best case scenario, your alimony payments will give your ex the support he needs while he sets out on his separate path toward full employment and self-sufficiency.

Do you have more questions about divorce, like whether or not you should keep the house? Take a look at our divorce archive of articles for answers! We also encourage you to sign up for the next Second Saturday Divorce Workshop near you to get answers to all of your divorce questions.

68 thoughts on “Will You Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband?”

  1. Pingback: Will You Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband? | SortStyle.com

  2. Sir , I am Chandrika I given divorce to my husband . But am studied intermediate only I didn’t have any job I have a son 20 Months old I can’t understand that what I do next please give me suggestion sir

  3. My husband hasn’t worked for almost 3 years, but not for any real reason. He is an educated, able-bodied professional who could be working right now. At present, I do make more money because he has no income. Will I have to pay alimony? I live in California.

      1. Am a man and my wife makes double what I make, we have been married for less than 10yrs, if we divorce and am working will she have to pay me?

          1. My wife makes around 160.000 a year. She works 7 day aweek. Not time for me. She brougt a 420.000 house put it in her name only. I deal with diebaties. Iake about 450 a week. I give her 300 a week. She has a 30 year old daughter with two kids live with use she dont charge here. But say i dont give here enought. She tell me to get out all the time. She wont to divorce me can i get spou se support

          2. A court cannot award spousal support until there is a legal action that gives them jurisdiction to make such an award. So until you file for divorce or legal separation, you cannot get spousal support. If you don’t want to start a legal action, then you will need to make your views known and negotiate with her to give you the money you need to live.

      2. I have separated from my husband two months shy of 10 years (live in CA), I have worked full time my whole life he has a drinking problem but has the capacity to earn a good living and just became lazy because I took care of everything. He’s now threatening to sue me for alimony because he’s too lazy to work. I don’t make a whole lot of money to begin with. Can he win?

        1. Whether he can get a judgment for alimony depends on all the facts and circumstances of the case. If he can show that he is disabled and unable to work, or that jobs do not exist that he could fill, he might be able to.

          1. Can the wife be forced to pay spousal support when there has been domestic violence towards her by the hands of the unemployed spouse? The wife has full custody of the two children.

    1. Yes..my dovorce is final tuesday and i have to pay big money to a lazy ass who didnt work for 5 yrs. I live in wisconson snd mo fault state. He was an abusive ass and i have to pay support to him..not fair..im having hard tome comimg to terms with that..

        1. Why wouldn’t you receive support? Do you think she wouldn’t take it from you? Equality goes both ways, women can’t cherry pick the parts of equality that work in their favor and demand the others to not apply. If you need the support to get back on your feet without taking on hardship you should take. There is no shame in it, you shouldn’t feel any less because equality means equal treatment to both parties. Your entitled to all the rights any other woman is, your gender shouldn’t remove this equal treatment.

          1. AMEN Bill! I dang sure will take everything I can get, especially after 10 years of marriage and she breaks the marriage contract. She thought I would just pack and go home to mommy while she lived in the house. She is NUTS. I told her if you don’t want to work on the marriage that’s fine. So we will sell everything and split it down the middle and yes please I’ll accept that alimony check I don’t care if its $25 a month! Or we can work on our marriage. Guess what she chose?

      1. I know and feel your pain. I have been supporting my ex-husband for years. He was abusive, violent, and refused to work. Now, him and his scum bag attorney are coming after me for everything, even though I am currently undergoing chemo treatments.

        California is unfair, and I pray one-day they change the laws. For me, this is like an extension of the abuse I received during my marriage. It never ends. Somehow the court needs to and take into account the torture many of us women endure when married to an abuser. We should not be subjected to additional abuse for a life time, especially when we finally had the courage to leave the situation.

  4. I was taken by surprise when the alimony request came up during the divorce process. I had married an older wealthier man (retired) who was already delving into his 401K (he had no pensions, but had substantial savings and the 401K draw down was mandated because of his age). I was making more than his 401K draw but my own 401K and savings were at least half of his. Although I was already on Medicare at the time, I was putting off retiring until the divorce was finalized.

  5. Hello,
    I’m paying my ex, alimony and child support. We agreed to a 50/50 split of my income, he is a stay at home dad. Now that we have filed our taxes separately. I paid him 50% of net income each paycheck for the whole 2015 year. He says we just take his tax due and my tax refund, add them up and divide by 2 to get to a 50/50 split of my gross income for the year. Any help with the formula I should be using to help me figure out the amount I owe him to get to a 50/50 split of gross income. It seams to me there should be more to it.
    Thank you

    1. You’ll need to look at your divorce settlement agreement to see what it says about how to divide refunds and taxes due. If it is silent, then whatever the two of you decide is what you should do. If the goal is for each of you to end up with half of the total funds available, then his solution sounds like it would work.

  6. About divorce: I want to keep my house for my son after I divorce until my son will get 18 years old. I paid off the house already, no more mortgage. I wonder the court agrees or not. Please let me know, If someone knows about the divorce law. Thanks

    1. Depends on what your husband also wants. A fair settlement would be to keep the home for the son, once the son moves out you sell the property and split the proceeds.

  7. About divorce: I want to keep our dhouse for my son after I divorce until my son will get 18 years old. My husband and I own this house. I paid off the house already, no more mortgage. I wonder the court agrees or not. Please let me know, If someone knows about the divorce law. Thanks

  8. What about a husband who works and makes enough to support himself but still makes about 30% of what I do. Would I still have to pay alimony if I assumed all responsibility for our debts and support of our children?

  9. What if I’m disabled and unable to work since 1989 and have been totally dependent on husband for both financial and physical care? Would I be awarded more in a no-fault state? I would need to pay for some of the services he currently does for me or I could not make it on my own. So I feel trapped.

  10. hello my husband is always in and out of prison and now we are starting the divorce he wants alimony for three years of our marriage he has been in prison the state has paid for him to live so how could they want me to pay him alimony to what life styles

  11. I got stuck paying 1/4 of my take home pay as manimony for the past 3 years. My narcissistic ex-husband claimed that he was a stay at home dad but in reality he felt no need to build a career since he could sit back and let me be the bread winner. He didn’t have a job for the last 20 years of our marriage. I had the mindset that it wasn’t so bad because he didn’t cheat on me or hit me. Some awful things happened that brought me to my breaking point and I filed for divorce after 30 years of being married. The manimony has been extremely tough for me. At times I’ve had to buy food or pay my utilities with credit cards. I have had to shop at thrift stores and lose some of the luxuries like my smart phone but with God’s help I survived and just made my last payment. My advice to young married women is don’t accept anything less than what you deserve! You deserve to be treasured! Don’t be forced to be the man and the women in your relationship. I learned my lesson the hard way but at the end of the day it’s the BEST MONEY I’VE EVER SPENT.

  12. My wife has decided to separate and leave me will all of the household bills (1st & 2nd Mortgage, credit cards, etc.).

    We have been married for 6 years (no children together) and I have been out of work for 4 years, (We have a small carpet cleaning business that I’ve been trying to build for 4 years but the customer base is not large enough yet to sustain me).

    My wife has supported this household for the entire time including all of the bills, food, vacations, etc.. Her income is $137,000 compared to my $0.00.

    I am 57 years old and would like to know if spousal support is a possibility.

    Thank you

    1. Talk to an attorney to see what the laws of your state provide for. Each state is different. It may be that you would be imputed with an ability to earn based on your skill level, which could reduce or eliminate any support that is due you.

  13. I have been married almost 20 years and have always worked full time. My spouse has also worked the entire time. However, in the past 3 years my income has surpassed his, by 20K. We have 3 children and they are on my medical benefits. Will I have to pay him alimony? We live in Utah.

  14. Looking for Answers

    I am moving to divorce my husband. We have been separated for almost 2 years and married for 5 years. I make more than him but i also have the children. Would i have to pay alimony?

  15. I Pay 4 Figure Alimony

    Watch out for CO. I divorced my ex after he secretly spent our joint savings and refused to take paying work or contribute financially to our mortgage and bills.

    Had to divorce him because he stole and wouldn’t work, and guess what?

    I pay four figure alimony.

  16. Desmond wilson

    I been married for 2 years we got married in texas but moved to memphis i havent worked in almost a year if we get a legal separation who would have to pay

  17. Hi. I’be married a guy for 4yrs. Within a month of our marriage he left his job and he completely fit and talented, yet, till now he is at home.we are getting divorced now, will I have to pay him alimony

    1. I’m sorry that you haven’t had a chance to explore our website. We have a myriad of financial information and tips for people going through divorce. But we are not attorneys and cannot offer legal advice, and that is why we say you should consult an attorney when people ask specific legal questions. We are concerned that people get good, accurate advice, and it would be negligent of us to make up answers to questions which we are not qualified to answer.

  18. Hello, i wanted to know, i am married and have supported my wife and her kids for 6 years. We have been married for 2. My wife rarely worked. But i have always worked. I even worked while attending college. Well i got work almost 2 years ago. We lost the house my career my education and everything. She stayed by my side until my workmans comp payments ran out. Im am currently still injured and unabke to work. She upped and left me. I was almost homeless in texas till my friend came from california to pick me up. My wife now has a job and is doing great. Can i request alimony? We have no kids together. I have supported her and her kids for years. Im in a massive whole i cant get out of. Need advuce please.

    1. You’ll need to consult an attorney in the state in which you reside to see if you would be entitled to alimony if you filed for divorce. Under some states, such as California, alimony is limited to half the length of the marriage, so it would just be for a year or so in your case.

  19. I am employed but currently on disability, fell 35 ft. Even though I’m having an amazing recovery won’t be back to work soon. Wife and I are having lots of problems and not getting along at all. She wants a divorce now.
    When I moved in to her house, she was going to court because the house we lived in and currently do so, belonged to her prior fiance and he was in process of divorce, but he passed away. Court granted the house to my wife. 3 years later we married (2014). I have nothing and don’t have anything in life but this because I always gave her my checks since she made more money than i and it was easier for her to pay the bills straight from her bank. So my question is if we do get a divorce, would she have to give me spousal support and am I entitled to half the house equity since the day we married to divorce

    1. It is likely that she will owe you support until you are on your feet again, if your income is substantially less than hers. In some states marital equity is created during the marriage in homes that are otherwise separate property, and in others it is not, except for mortgage paydown during marriage plus some of the appreciation. Check with an attorney who knows the laws of your state on both of these issues.

  20. I’ve been married going on 9yrs. We separated in September 2019,,she lives in a 375.ooo, dollar house,because my credit was no good my name is not on the house but mortgage and utilities was split down the middle, I received a lump sum from my va disability, and paid for all the furniture in the entire house, she makes around 90.000.a year, I’m a security officer making 15 dollars a hour and 90% va disability I’m filling for a divorce, also I’m out the house living in a appointment, can I receive Alimony.

  21. My Daughter is married to a freeloader, who hasn’t worked in many years, never helps around the house, doesn’t support her in anyway. She works and earns roughly $15. an hour. He wants a divorce and wants to sue her for alimony..can he win?

    1. In most states, spouses have a duty of support toward each other. If he is unable to work for some reason, then the laws of her state might require that she pay support. But if he has an ability to work and chooses not to, she could probably ask the court to consider what he could earn if he chose to in setting support. But the laws of each state are different, and I’m not an attorney, so she should seek legal advice to see how the law applies in her particular situation.

  22. This will be long and I don’t know how to sum this up: I have been separated from my ex husband since July 2003, we have x2 children ages 17 & 21 now. Since then we had an non-legal agreement where we shared custody time wise, he took the children 3 days and I took the kids for 4. Since the separation I got laid off from a receptionist job in 2004 and took out a student loan to go back to school. I received my nursing RPN diploma in 2007 and I have been working as a nurse since. I now make about $60 000 a year. We did not provide spousal support to each other. My children were in subsidized daycare when I went back to school. My ex did not try to better himself. I was the main bread winner (my ex is a waiter who works part time and is making significantly less then I) and was providing mostly more by buying things like clothes and school supplies for our kids. My ex was only providing a roof, food and some bus fare only on the days that he had the children. Since 2016 my youngest has been living with me full time and oldest son was residing with his father mostly (75%) when he was going to high school. My oldest finished high school 4 yrs ago approximately and did not take any post secondary education since. In the summer of 2017 my ex decided to move for financial reasons 2 hours away from me (we lived close by), since then my children have been residing with me. I know I might have the right for child support but I can’t be bothered to deal with the legal system. My ex does give money to my youngest for food but gives it directly to him. If I get a a divorce eventually would I have to provide spousal support yo my ex?

    1. Here’s how to sum it up – my husband and I are separated and I’m the main breadwinner since he’s only working part time. Will I have to pay him spousal support?
      Since your income is considerably higher than yours, you likely will have to pay spousal support, unless you can show that he could work more and make an amount more in line with what you make.

  23. If I make more money than my husband and we have a daughter would I have to pay him spousal support? Live in California been married 7 years

    1. If your income is considerably more than your spouse’s income, and he is working at his full capacity, then you may be required to pay spousal support if he needs it to live and you have the ability to pay.

  24. Pingback: Will you pay manimony after your divorce? – Stange Law Firm

  25. Pingback: Will you pay manimony when you divorce? – Stange Law Firm

  26. I filed for divorce after almost 30 years of marriage as we do not see eye to eye as to how life should be lived to it’s fullest and all we do is fight about money. My husband has a very aggressive lawyer who is pushing to get 1/2 my pension, 1/2 my 401k , alimony and doesn’t feel that I am entitled to any proceeds to the sale of our home , why ? Because I make more money and my pension and 401k are substantial and potentially is worth more from and asset total than what he has, but not by that much. My husband however, who is 15 years old than me is retired collects a pension, works and also collects Social Security, he also has access to substantial amount of cash he got from an inheritance over 120,000.00, but I live paycheck to paycheck and have about 100.00 in my checking account. This man has been controlling my finances since the day we met when I was 17. I may have more in my 401k and pension but I am only 53 and cannot withdraw from my 401k and/or my pension until at least 62 or more so really all I have for usable assets is my pay check, does this really seem fair that he feels he should getting alimony ?

    1. If you and he don’t see eye to eye on what’s fair, then the law of your state will be the deciding factor in how things should be divided and whether alimony is appropriate in your case. In most states, the family home is considered a marital asset, as are retirement accounts earned during the marriage. His income from inheritance and pension are certainly factors in whether he needs alimony from you. So gather information on the assets you have and the value of each, as well as the income you each have, and then see how the law will treat those assets and income. Right or wrong, fair or not, if you can’t agree otherwise, the law will apply.

  27. I’m the only one who works for almost 16 years and the child tax benefits go to my husbands bills if I divorce will I still have to pay even though the disability said he can work

    1. If there were bills that were incurred during the marriage by your spouse for family expenses or his own normal expenses, then likely in divorce those will be considered to be marital debt and will be taken into account when determining what each of you gets and the debts you must assume. As for paying alimony, if you can show that he is able to work and earn money, that could be taken into account in determining the amount of support, if any.

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