Role Reversal: Ex-Wives Angry Over Paying Alimony

Despite the increases in men seeking and receiving alimony, advocates warn against linking the trend to equality in the courtroom. Family court judges still tend to favor women, said Ned Holstein, the founder of Fathers & Families, a group advocating family court reform.

"Family court still gives custody overwhelmingly to mothers, child support overwhelmingly to mothers, and courts still give almony overwhelmingly to mothers and women," he said.

"The family courts came into existence years ago in order to give things to mothers that mothers needed," he said. "The times have changed and the courts have not."

Recession Brings More Male Alimony?

Today's economy may be adding new men to ranks of alimony-seekers. As traditionally male-dominated industries like finance and construction continue to struggle, more men are finding themselves with lower income or no income at all, forcing a newfound dependence on their wives or, in some cases, ex-wives.

Earlier this year, a British judge ruled that Elena Bowes Marano should pay her ex, real estate tycoon Peter Marano, 5 million pounds (about $8 million) after his property portfolio dwindled in value -- an order that Elena, originally from a wealthy California family, is fighting.

Such cases notwithstanding, a reversal of traditional gender roles in a divorce doesn't necessarily create more acrimony, experts say.

Alexis Martin Neely, a prominent California family lawyer, is an alimony-paying woman content with her divorce settlement. Supporting her husband, she has said, allows him to spend time with their children.

"I do really like him being available for the kids and their school events and if he can't work and do that, I'd rather support him to be readily available for them," she wrote in a blog post. "He deserves it and so do they."

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