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Divorce represents a difficult and stressful time for everyone. But if you are a woman with a high-paying job, you could face a new dilemma when you divorce: manimony. The Women’s Institute for Financial Education coined the term manimony to refer to the spousal support payments that courts sometime require well-paid wives to pay to their less-well-paid former husbands.

Although manimony occurs in only about 15% of divorces nationwide, you need to know what to expect if your husband requests it during your divorce proceedings. The court will consider many factors, including the following ones, before granting his request:

  • Your annual income as compared to his
  • Your potential for increased future earnings as compared to his
  • Your education level as compared to his
  • The amount of additional education and/or training he needs to increase his income potential
  • The length of your marriage
  • The type and amount, if any, of nonfinancial contributions he made to the marriage

Payment period

In the event the court requires you to pay manimony, you can take solace in the fact that these payments will not last forever. Most spousal support payment periods last for no longer than 10 years maximum. In addition, certain factors come into play that could reduce this period even further. For instance, the manimony order likely will include the provision that your payments will cease in the event your former husband chooses to enter into a new marriage. If the court bases its manimony award on the basis of your husband’s need for additional education or training, the award order undoubtedly will call for cessation of payments once he attains it.