Helping individuals going through divorce bring their alimony dispute to a successful resolution
Divorce has the potential to have a significant impact on a person's financial situation. This is particularly true for people who have enjoyed the support of their spouse for a significant period of time or who have forgone pursuing their own education and career in order to take care of the household or be a full-time parent. In order to limit the unfair economic effects of a divorce, Maryland courts are authorized to award alimony in cases where one spouse earns significantly less than the other.
What you need to know about alimony
Alimony is not automatically awarded in every case and courts have significant discretion in deciding whether to award either spouse alimony. In addition, alimony is intended to allow the spouse receiving it to maintain the standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage, which means that the more the other spouse earned, the more the alimony payments are likely to be. Finally, alimony is awarded on a gender neutral basis and both men and women regularly seek alimony in Maryland divorce cases.
Types of alimony
There are three types of alimony available in Maryland, which are discussed below.
- Temporary alimony (pendent lite) – Courts award this type of alimony on a temporary basis while a divorce action is pending, meaning the time between when one party files for divorce and the time the divorce becomes final. The purpose of this type of alimony is to maintain the financial circumstances of the spouse who has demonstrated financial need.
- Rehabilitative alimony – Rehabilitative alimony is awarded in cases where one party can demonstrate that he or she needs financial support for a period of time in order to establish his or her financial independence. For example, a court may award rehabilitative alimony in cases where the spouse that has demonstrated need must to go back to school or acquire job skills that would allow him or her to obtain appropriate employment. In many cases, this type of alimony is awarded to a spouse that has made the decision to forgo pursuing a career in order to manage the household.
- Indefinite alimony – This type of alimony is rarely awarded and involves an award that has no predetermined end point. It is often awarded in cases where the other party cannot earn a living due to advanced age, disability, or illness. In addition, a court may award indefinite alimony if the standards of living of the parties would be unconscionably disparate even after the party seeking alimony made as much progress towards being self-supporting as could reasonably be expected. This type of alimony may be modified at a later date if either party can establish that that the relevant circumstances have changed in such a way as to justify a modification.
Court factors in determining alimony
Courts can consider a number of factors in determining whether to award alimony, defined by Maryland law. These include the following:
- The ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting
- The length of time that it would take the party seeking alimony to get the training or education that would allow him or her to find suitable employment
- The standard of living established by the couple during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The financial and non-financial contributions each party made to the marriage
- Each party's age
- The physical and mental condition of each party
- The ability of the party not seeking alimony to pay while meeting his or her own needs
- Any agreement made between the parties
- The financial resources and needs of each party
- Whether an award of alimony would cause a long-term care facility resident to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur
Call a Maryland alimony attorney today to schedule a consultation
A court's alimony determination can have a significant impact on the financial situation of both the party required to pay and the party receiving alimony. For this reason, anyone who believes that alimony may be in dispute in their divorce case should contact a Maryland alimony attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, call the Law Office of Thomas K. Mallon today or send us an email through our online contact form.