Women Can Be Ordered to Pay Spousal Support and Alimony
Video Transcribed: Can men receive spousal support in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa Child Custody Attorney James Wirth and I’m answering frequently asked questions related to Oklahoma family law. And the question that came in actually had to do with child support, but that made me think of another one that I get even more frequently, which is, can men receive spousal support?
Can they receive alimony in Oklahoma? And similar to child support, the rules that are in place are gender-neutral. It doesn’t matter if you are the man or the woman, the husband or the wife. It has to do with the financial circumstances and what’s happened in the marriage. So yes, under Oklahoma law, men can receive spousal support and alimony. Women can be ordered to pay spousal support and alimony. So that’s what the law says.
In practice, unlike child support, sometimes maybe you do see a little bit of bias against men. I’ve had a number of cases where I have represented the man who had a case for spousal support, and I’ve certainly had lots of cases where I represented the woman having a case for spouse support.
And I have found that there may be a little bit of gender bias in with some of the judges because, unlike child support, the judges have wide discretion in spousal support. There’s no set calculator or guidelines.
The judge gets to make a determination on what is equitable, what is fair based on all of the circumstances? So the primary thing we look at is, what is the one party’s need based on what are they making?
What sources of income do they have? What are their expenses? How much are they underwater? Then what does the other party’s ability to pay? Looking at those same things. How much do they make? How much are their expenses? What do they have leftover? What’s their ability to pay?
And if we’ve got a need that is tied to the marriage and we have an ability to pay, then you probably have a spousal support case. And then for determining how long the spousal support is, the main factor is, what is the length of the marriage?
But it also has to do with how long is it going to take that person to rehabilitate themselves to be able to support themselves? All of those rules put together make no difference regarding what gender is.
So gender doesn’t play into it. Those other things do play into it. So, yes, men can get spousal support. Women can be ordered to pay spousal support. But it’s going to be dependent on the specific circumstances of the case.
If the man was a primary caregiver of the children for a long period of time or stayed at home and took care of the home while the woman was the primary wage earner, maybe the man gave up a career in order to take care of the kids. Maybe the man gave up a lucrative job and career in order to move for the purposes of the wife’s job.
All of those things factor in. Whether it’s the man or the woman, the rules are the same. In practice, there may be a little bit of bias with judges against the men, but the law is the same. So you can definitely push for that if you’re on that side.
If you’ve got questions about your specific circumstances, whether you’re trying to obtain spouse support, or whether you are trying to mitigate spousal support, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that. If you want to talk to somebody at my office, go to makelaweasy.com.