"Manimony" A Rising Trend

As women out-earn their husbands in the workplace, many find they are footing the bill in divorce as well -- supporting their ex-spouses with alimony payments. Manimony is the new term for a growing trend.

When Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd split after eight months of marriage, she paid him $14 million. Britney Spears picked up the tab for K-Fed's divorce attorney and then added another million for spousal support. Tom Arnold walked away from his marriage to Roseanne Barr with a cool $50 million.

"When the women are the breadwinners and have the bigger bank accounts, they can expect in an unhappy divorce for the husband to go straight for the checkbook," says Jeanne Wolf, West Coast editor of Parade magazine.

It's not just Hollywood wives who are paying alimony, or, manimony as it is being called. Women are now the top earners in a third of all marriages.

Throughout her six-year marriage, Alexis Martin Neely was the breadwinner.

"He was going to stay home with the kids and I was going to go out and earn a living," she said.

But when the Neely's once-happy marriage turned into an angry divorce, this mother of two agreed to pay her ex-husband $4,000 a month.

"I do feel like I gave him more than I needed to, and I should mention that he feels like he's not getting enough," she said with a laugh.

"We'd like to think we could have a female president, but when it comes to a man who might be receiving spousal support from his ex-wife, then we tend to look at him as if he's a deadbeat or he's lazy," says Dr. David Swanson, a family psychologist.

Divorce was a battleground in the movie "The War of the Roses." Some say the reality is not far off the mark, no matter which spouse is writing the checks.

"A woman wants to achieve and yet she might have a husband who wants to lay on the couch and watch Oprah all day," says Swanson. "In that situation, you can understand why that woman might spit on the check every month when she sends it out."

Divorce attorney Tina Schuchman says it's all part of equal rights.

"We asked for it, we got it. So we have to pay it," she says. "But men are asking and men are getting.

Neely agrees manimony is a fair trade-off, because her ex is the perfect stay-at-home dad.

She says, "I can stay stuck in this place of railing, 'Why, why, why did I do this?' Or I can say, 'this is the situation: he doesn't work. I want him to be able to spend time with the kids.' I have the capacity to make money, and I can make more money if I just accept, forgive and move on."

Divorce attorney Paul Talbert discussed the trend with The Early Show's Julie Chen, and says you'll find this trend happening more often in cases where the woman makes more money.

"There's no such thing as marital compensation, so it's usually just to allow one of the spouses to enjoy the standard of living that they did for some period of time after the marriage is over."

Honestly, who is more bitter about having to write alimony checks? Talbert says women are definitely more upset about paying it.

"Men, I think, at this point know that they may be in for paying alimony," he says. "For women, on the other hand, it's a great shock a lot of the time. These [women] are the big earners in the family and are already paying out when they divide the marital property. If we are going to treat the sexes equally in divorce, that is going to happen.

Talbert says kids also make a difference when the husband stays home. He says it gives them a better claim for alimony, because they can say they sacrificed their career for their wife's career.
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