Alimony is support paid by the financially dominant spouse to the other. Alimony is not always awarded, and it is falling out of favor in Maryland. However, if one of the spouses is financially dependent upon the other, the court can decide to award alimony. Alimony may be given following a complaint for alimony, or as part of a decree that grants an annulment, a limited divorce, or an absolute divorce. In addition, alimony can be awarded to either spouse after the court considers certain factors.
Unlike child support, alimony is not calculated pursuant to any particular formula; it is subject to the discretion of the court, and the court is guided by statute. The statute for alimony instructs the court to consider several factors when determining an alimony award. The factors include:
- Length of your marriage
- Your financial situation during the marriage, now and in the future
- Your age, physical and mental health
- Reasons for the divorce
- Ability of the parties seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting
- Time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment
- Standard of living that the parties established during their marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each of the party to the well-being of the family
- Circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties
- Age, physical, and mental condition of each party
- Ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony
- Any agreement between the parties
- Financial needs and financial resources of each party, including all income and assets, including all property that does not produce income
- Any monetary award concerning property and award of possession and use of the family property
- Nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party
- The right of each party to receive retirement benefit
- Whether the award would cause a paying spouse or a spouse who is a resident of a care facility with more than two patients to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur
Accordingly, when alimony is an issue in a divorce action it is critical that the evidence provided to the court refer to each of these factors. Anticipating, gathering, and presenting the evidence to the court in an organized fashion along with the relevant legal argument and supporting case law is critical to defending against or pursuing an alimony award.
Whether you are seeking or defending against alimony, it is critical to have experienced legal representation. Collectively, we have 50 years of combined legal experience. At Paré & Associates (formerly the Law Office of Alice Paré) we have successfully pursued and defended against alimony.
We can help.
HOW LONG DOES ALIMONY CONTINUE?
The duration of the alimony award depends on the type of alimony awarded. Alimony can be for a defined period of time or it can continue indefinitely. When alimony is for a defined period of time it is “rehabilitative” alimony. That is alimony paid to the dependent spouse to help support the spouse while the spouse “rehabilitates”, i.e., becomes financially independent.
Indefinite alimony, on the other hand, continues until the remarriage of the recipient, or the death of either party.
CAN ALIMONY BE MODIFIED OR TERMINATED?
Alimony can be modified or terminated if there is a material change in circumstances. For instance, if the recipient spouse secures a high paying job or the payor spouse suffers a disruption in income, alimony can be reduced or terminated. Similarly, if the payor spouse begins to earn substantially more income, alimony may be increased. An increase in alimony is less likely. Also, in Maryland, the alimony obligation terminates automatically if either spouse dies, or if the recipient spouse remarries.
TALK TO A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are being sued for alimony, or if you need alimony to support yourself after a divorce, you need an attorney. We are experienced in pursuing and defending alimony cases. Feel free to contact us for a free fifteen-minute phone consultation if you would like to discuss the issue of alimony in your case.
At the law offices of Paré & Associates (formerly the Law Office of Alice Paré), we have been helping clients in Germantown, Gaithersburg, Clarksburg, and throughout Montgomery County and the state of Maryland for more than thirty (30) years. Our practice areas include family law, divorce, domestic violence, child custody, bankruptcy, and personal injury.
Call us today at 301-515-1190 to hire an experienced alimony lawyer or contact us online.