Alimony for Stay at Home Moms Is on the Decline

November 30, 2021 | J. Benjamin Stevens | Share:

Over the past decade there has been a noticeable trend showing alimony for stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) is on the decline – along with others going through a divorce. Though alimony was once seen as common in cases where there is great income disparity, it has become increasingly rare in recent years, to the point that even those who seem to have ample justification to receive it, often find themselves shut out, at least temporarily, when it comes to spousal support.

Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, used to be frequently awarded in several kinds of cases. Divorces where one party earned substantially more than the other party or those where one party stayed at home to raise the children were usually good candidates for alimony to be awarded at least for several years, if not permanently, to ensure the disadvantaged spouse could get on his or her feet.

Today, experts say that it is not only less common, but downright rare for alimony to be awarded in many divorce cases. Even those that seem like slam-dunks for spousal support, where one party has not worked for years to stay at home with the children, are increasingly being met with less sympathy by judges. So, what are the reasons for the change?

One obvious reason is the dramatic increase in the number of women in the workforce, with 75 percent of women working today. More than that, women now make up a higher percentage of college graduates than men and serve as the financial breadwinner in around 40 percent of marriages. These are huge societal changes since most alimony laws were originally enacted. Even those women who have been out of the workforce for years are seen as having responsibility to provide for themselves – even if that means taking relatively low paid jobs and enduring a reduction in their standard of living.

Though there is a clear trend away from awarding long-term spousal maintenance, experts say there are still exceptions to the general rule. When one spouse is clearly suffering from a financial disadvantage and the marriage was lengthy, it is often the case that at least temporary alimony is awarded to help the person get through the divorce and get established post-divorce. Another exception is when one parent quits work to care for a severely disabled child, one that requires more than normal care and support. In these cases, it is less of a stretch to convince a judge to award longer terms of alimony or other support payments.


If you find yourself facing the prospect of a separation, divorce, alimony, support, or other financial issues, you need the help of an experienced South Carolina family law attorney to guide you through the difficult process.  Ben Stevens is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He has the experience to help guide you through the most complicated family law issues.  You are invited to contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or to schedule an appointment.

Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or to schedule an initial consultation.



Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina.  His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.

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