Alimony is monetary payments made by one spouse to the other during or after their divorce. The concept of alimony is ancient, but was only established in Maryland divorce law in 1980. Under Maryland law, marriage partners are expected to support one another financially and this is true until the marriage ends. Therefore, the right to file for alimony exists up to the time the final divorce decree is granted; after the end of the marriage it is not possible to make an alimony claim.
Men and women are considered equal under the law and either one may have to support the other as the court finds appropriate. Maryland courts do not award alimony as broadly as in other states, and there are different types of alimony depending on the circumstances of the divorce.
Types of Alimony
During the divorce process, the court may award alimony pendente lite, or temporary alimony, which is meant to maintain the current standard of living while the divorce is pending. An award for temporary alimony is not a guarantee that alimony will be granted after the divorce.
Short-term, or rehabilitative alimony, is the most common type of alimony awarded in Maryland. It is awarded for the purpose of enabling the receiving party to return to school to finish a degree or otherwise better enhance their earning capacity. There is a time limit associated with rehabilitative alimony that corresponds to the goal of being self-sufficient. For instance, the spouse who put off career training in order to stay home and raise children may need three to five years to obtain a degree and training that would enable them to be competitive in the job market and get back on their feet. The court would award alimony for those three to five years, but not longer.
Permanent or indefinite alimony has no specific time limit and is awarded only in special situations. Circumstances in which permanent alimony may be granted include those in which age, illness, or a disability make it impossible for a person to achieve self-sufficient status; or instances in which the difference in earnings between the two parties is so large as to be unfair.
Alimony awards are subject to modification and can be extended, changed, or ended depending on future circumstances.
Factors That Determine Alimony
The court will consider many different factors when deciding whether to award alimony including, but not limited to:
- Age and health – both physical and mental, of both parties
- Length of the marriage and standard of living that was established
- Financial standing during the marriage, currently, and in the future
- The circumstances that led to the divorce
- The financial resources and obligations of each party including their income and assets and right to receive retirement benefits
- The ability of the party seeking alimony to be partially or fully self-supporting and the ability of the other party to pay alimony while still meeting their own financial obligations
Contact the Experienced Baltimore Alimony Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC for Compassionate Counsel During a Divorce
If you have questions about alimony, the skilled Baltimore alimony lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. We assist our clients with all matters of family law and strive to achieve successful outcomes reasonably and expediently. Consultation are free and confidential so call 443-589-0150 today or contact us online.
We have convenient locations in Towson and Hunt Valley serving satisfied clients throughout the greater Baltimore area, including Baltimore, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, and throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County, Maryland.