Alimony is a term used for the payments made to one spouse by the other upon divorce. It exists to reduce economic unfairness that can occur as a result of divorce. Courts may award alimony to the spouse who earns less or who needs additional funds to maintain the standard of living he or she had during the marriage. The amount of alimony to be awarded is determined based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial condition of the former spouses.
There are three types of alimony in Maryland:
- Pendente Lite: Alimony payments are made while the divorce is still pending.
- Rehabilitative: Alimony must be paid for a set period of time so that the recipient spouse is able to get whatever training or education is necessary to become self supporting.
- Indefinite: Paying spouse must continue to pay alimony for an indefinite period, until the court orders otherwise.
Can Alimony Be Increased?
Alimony may be increased in some circumstances, depending on the state in which the parties live. The requesting spouse may seek to change their alimony payments from rehabilitative to indefinite or to increase their alimony payment amounts. Typically, the requesting spouse must be able to prove that he or she had a significant change in financial circumstance and that the paying spouse can pay the increased amount.
In Maryland, alimony awards are not permanent. They automatically terminate upon the death of either party or upon remarriage of the recipient spouse. Alimony may be modified as circumstances and justice require and terminated to avoid harsh and inequitable results. Typically, if alimony is payable pursuant to a separation agreement, the amount or term of alimony cannot be modified.
Parties can ensure that their alimony award is not subject to modification by providing such terms in a negotiated agreement. They may dictate the circumstances under which the award may be modified or prohibit modification altogether. This is one reason parties may prefer to reach a settlement than to have their case decided by the court.
Change of Circumstances
One of the most common reasons for modification of alimony is change of circumstances. The change in circumstance must have been significant enough to warrant an increase in alimony. There are several types of changes in circumstance for which a receiving spouse may request an increase in alimony payment or duration, including:
- Change in law: If the laws regarding alimony change, the parties may request a modification due to change of circumstances.
- Substantial increase of income: If the paying spouse gets a substantial raise, the receiving spouse may request an increase to his or her support payments.
- Disability: If the recipient spouse becomes disabled, he or she may be able to get increased support.
- Financial emergency: The paying spouse may be ordered to make increased support payments in the event of a financial emergency suffered by the receiving spouse, such as a medical issue.
Baltimore Alimony Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Obtain Increased Alimony Payments
If you believe your circumstances warrant an increase in your alimony payments, contact a skilled Baltimore alimony lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We will guide you toward taking the next steps. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.