When parties are going through the divorce process, either spouse may request alimony, also known as spousal support. This includes requesting alimony on a pendente lite (temporary) basis prior to the final hearing.
Alimony factors considered by the court in determining if alimony should be granted include, but are not limited to:
- respective income levels
- age of each party
- the ability of the spouse seeking alimony to become self-supporting
- length of the marriage
- standard of living of the parties during their marriage
- any special needs of the parties and its impact on employment, assets, financial resources and expenses
- any agreements entered by the parties
- financial needs and resources of each party
- contributions of each party, whether monetary or non-monetary, to the well-being of the family
The basis for divorce is considered by the court in determining alimony; however, fault does not guarantee alimony.
Alimony is viewed as a rehabilitative measure for a limited time period; however, it may be awarded for an indefinite period if termination would be unconscionable.
There are alimony guidelines in Maryland, but they are not statutorily mandated as they are in child support determinations. However, the guidelines can provide helpful guidance in conjunction with an analysis of each party’s income and expenses.
The law does recognize two circumstances when a court may award indefinite alimony:
- When the party requesting alimony cannot reasonably become rehabilitated and be self-supporting because of age, illness, infirmity, or disability.
- When the party seeking alimony, after making as much progress to become self-supporting as possible, results in an unequal standard of living of the parties. Rehabilitative alimony may be extended to avoid this issue.
Generally, alimony can only be awarded prior to the entry of a Judgment of Absolute Divorce. Parties may choose to waive alimony prior to the entry of a Judgment of Absolute Divorce; however, once alimony has been waived and the divorce has been finalized, the party who has waived alimony is not able to later come back and seek alimony from the court.
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY FLAG
Since alimony is not statutorily mandated, a party seeking alimony needs an experienced attorney who understands the factors that weigh into an alimony determination and can effectively articulate those factors to the court, if necessary. FLAG attorneys are experienced in dealing with the many different aspects of alimony cases. Our attorneys will take the time necessary to communicate with you and determine your needs and the financial impact a divorce will have on your quality of your life.
Call our office (410) 884-0400 to schedule an Initial Consultation to discuss your legal rights.
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