In the state of Maryland, married couples have a financial responsibility to each other. The law says that one spouse has to support the other financially and vice versa. This obligation exists even if the couple separates and is only absolved after the final divorce decree. Prior to 1980, in Maryland alimony law was determined through an evolution of caselaw. In 1980, Maryland passed its Alimony Act. The focus of today’s concept of alimony is on rehabilitation of the dependent spouse, to ensure economic self-sufficiency. Because of Maryland’s equal rights amendment, either spouse may be required to pay alimony for the other. Maryland law specifies two types of alimony, rehabilitative and indefinite.
Rehabilitative alimony is exactly what it sounds like. It is a short-term measure intended to allow a spouse to become financially stable after a divorce. Often in a marriage, one partner elects to stay home after children are born and be the homemaker. This person may have been out of the workforce for some time and needs alimony to be able to return to school to complete a degree or otherwise obtain training for a new career in order to support him/herself.
Indefinite alimony is payment made for longer periods, possibly even until the death of the spouse receiving it. It is awarded when one party is deemed unable to work either because of age, a physical illness, or their mental state. The other scenario for granting this less common form of alimony is when “unconscionably disparate” standards of living exist between the parties. In other words, although one is able to work and earn a living, the ex-spouse’s standard of living far exceeds yours.
How is Alimony Awarded?
A knowing and voluntary agreement about alimony that was reached before the divorce will be followed by a court. In other words, the court will not change the agreement. In cases where no agreement already exists, the judge deciding alimony has broad discretion and will consider a wide range of factors including, but not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- The reasons for the divorce
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The financial situation during the marriage, as well as now and in the future
- Physical and mental health of the parties
- The age of the parties
Alimony in Maryland is a complex issue and not awarded in every instance. An experienced attorney who knows the ins and out of the law could make the difference in your case.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Offer Personal Service in a Difficult Divorce
Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles are committed to excellence and helping you achieve your goals. A consultation about your individual case is free so call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. We have offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland serving the greater Baltimore area and throughout Maryland including Baltimore County, Howard County, Harford County, and Carroll County.