The financial ramifications of a divorce are worrisome for most. A supporting spouse can be ordered by a judge to pay alimony, child support and provide other financial assistance. Circumstances change, however. When a supported spouse remarries or begins living with a new partner, the alimony obligations of the supporting spouse often cease, or at the very least can be reduced.
If a divorce is reached as part of a settlement agreement between the parties, the parties can make any agreement they wish with respect to alimony. Alimony payments are usually made monthly from one spouse to the other. The parties can agree to indefinite payments, which is relatively unusual, or for a specific term. They also can agree to the amount of the payments. If they so agree, the provisions concerning alimony cannot be modified by the court.
However, if the parties do not agree to non-modification, the court can modify the alimony payment when a modification is sought. The alimony award can be modified based upon a significant change in circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in income, acquisition of a new family, or disabling illness.
In Maryland, alimony is terminated on the death of either party, the remarriage of the recipient, or where necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result. Upon learning that a supported spouse has remarried, a supporting spouse must take immediate action to revisit their settlement agreement or the court’s judgment, and request the termination of alimony. Our Towson divorce lawyers note that only if the agreement expressly says that alimony survives a party’s remarriage, alimony payments might still be required – even after a remarriage.
Alimony in a contested, litigated divorce is a different story. When a former spouse remarries following a divorce overseen by a judge any and all alimony obligations to the remarried spouse end, if the alimony was court-ordered. A judge can also apply the termination of alimony retroactively. In such circumstances, a spouse who remarried in secret but continued collecting alimony could be forced to repay any ill-gotten gains.
All divorced couples who feel they are ready to enter into a new relationship should proceed with caution and consider all factors that will be impacted.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles Understand All Aspects of Alimony
When contemplating a divorce, most estranged couples will devote substantial time and effort to arriving at an alimony schedule that is fair. When a supported spouse remarries, it can change their financial outlook dramatically. Our Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles will help draft a settlement agreement that covers all aspects of a divorce, including the question of what happens in the event of a remarriage. If a settlement cannot be reached we will represent you in court. To schedule an appointment, call 443-589-0150 or contact us online.