Determining Spousal Support and Alimony in Maryland

Are you concerned with either paying or receiving alimony after your divorce? Do you have questions about Maryland alimony law, how alimony is calculated, and what effect it will have on your life? The experienced lawyers at Houlon Berman can help.

For over 40 years Houlon Berman has provided compassionate and insightful legal advice to Maryland residents in Rockville, Bethesda, Greenbelt, and the greater Washington D.C. area. Our family law attorneys are sensitive to your situation and can help guide you through all aspects of separation, divorce, child custody, and spousal support.

Alimony and Its Purpose

At its most basic, alimony is a payment made from one party to another, on a regular basis, for a specific period of time, ranging from a few years to indefinitely. Alimony laws in Maryland did not even exist before 1980. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a former spouse.

Maryland alimony law is laid out in Title 11 of the Family Law Article in the Annotated Code of Maryland.

People who are married are considered to be financially responsible for one another, so either party can be required to pay alimony depending on each couple’s unique situation. It is important to note that alimony MUST be awarded before the finalization of divorce since, according to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the right to claim alimony is “extinguished at the time of the severance of the marital relationship.” (Lazun, & Pantzer)

There are three different types of alimony:

Rehabilitative Alimony: This is the most common form of alimony awarded in Maryland. It will typically be for a limited amount of time which is tied to some sort of hard goal, like finishing school or career development training. Its purpose is to provide the recipient financial support for enough time to become self-supporting. Average time allowances are 3-10 years.

Indefinite Alimony: Though rare, alimony can be awarded with no specific or set endpoint. This will usually be awarded in cases where one party is unable, for reasons of disability, age, or illness, to make reasonable progress toward becoming financially self-supporting. It may also be applied if the standard of living of one party is vastly different than the other, in which case alimony could be awarded to mitigate the difference.  The alimony would terminate upon the remarriage or death of the receiving spouse.

Alimony Pendente Lite: This type of alimony is awarded in Maryland between the time you file for divorce and when the divorce is finalized. This arrangement is meant to maintain the “status quo” during the divorce proceedings but does NOT necessarily mean that alimony will be awarded once the divorce is final.

All forms of alimony may be modified, changed, extended, or terminated by the Court.

How Alimony in Maryland is Calculated

There are many factors that will be considered as a judge works to determine the amount of alimony that will be awarded. Maryland alimony laws do not include a definite “checklist” or “calculator” for determining exact amounts but instead set factors to be followed when considering the following variables:

  • Ability of the one seeking alimony to wholly or partially support themselves
  • The time it will take for the party seeking alimony to get the education or training sufficient to gain employment whereby they can support themselves
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Monetary and nonmonetary contributions of both parties to the well-being of the family
  • The circumstances leading up to the divorce/separation
  • Each person’s age
  • Each person’s mental and physical condition
  • How well the person paying the alimony will be able to support themselves and their former spouse
  • If any agreement has been made between the two individuals
  • Financial needs and resources of both people
    • All income and assets, including property that does not produce income
    • Any award made regarding the family home or property
    • Each person’s financial obligations
    • Each person right to receive retirement benefits
  • If payment of alimony would cause one of the parties to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than they otherwise would (“Article-Family Law 11-106,” )

Contact Houlon Berman

Any alimony award that comes from your divorce will have important consequences for you and your family. This is something that should be carefully considered with the help of an experienced family law professional.

Houlon Berman understands Maryland alimony laws and has the experience, and a personal touch, that will allow them to represent your best interests. From Greenbelt, MD to Rockville, MD the family lawyers at Houlon Berman have been defending and protecting Maryland’s families for 40 years; let them do the same for you.

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