Germantown, Silver Spring and throughout Montgomery County, Maryland Alimony Lawyers Guiding Clients Through the Process of Securing Spousal Support Payments
Alimony or spousal support can be awarded to either spouse while the divorce is pending or after the divorce is finalized, and has the purpose of helping the spouse maintain a decent standard of living throughout the process. Until 1980, the state of Maryland did not have any legal provisions addressing alimony. Since then, the state’s equal rights amendment makes it possible for either spouse (husbands or wives) to receive alimony payments when the court finds it necessary.
How Does Alimony Work in Maryland?
In Maryland, there are a few different types of alimony. A spouse may request to receive alimony payments temporarily while the divorce is pending – which is sometimes referred to as “alimony pendente lite.” The purpose of this temporary alimony is to provide the means for the affected spouse to support him or herself during the time it takes for their divorce to reach the final stages.
Alimony can also be received after the divorce. It is important to mention that the fact that someone is receiving alimony payments while the divorce is pending is not automatically entitled to alimony after the divorce. Post-divorce alimony payments may be granted on a permanent (indefinite) or rehabilitative (temporary) basis. Usually, the most common type of alimony granted by the courts is of the rehabilitative kind, which is intended to be short-term financial support to help the recipient gain the proper professional qualifications and education to become competitive in the job market and secure employment after having stayed at home caring for children for several years.
In select cases where the spouse requesting alimony is of advanced age, has a disability, or can claim another factor that impedes him or her from making reasonable progress towards supporting oneself, the court may choose to award permanent alimony without an end date. This type of alimony is significantly rare but can be granted also when a spouse can prove their ex’s standard of living will be unconscionably disparate from their own. It is recommended that anyone looking to file for alimony receives the guidance of an alimony attorney before taking any action.
What Are the Factors Used to Calculate Alimony in Maryland?
The court will likely use a significant list of factors to decide whether you (or your spouse) should receive alimony. Some examples of these factors include the length of your marriage, what your financial situation was like during the marriage and what it looks like now and in the future, how old you are and what is your current mental and physical health condition, as well as the reasons that led to your divorce. Another important factor is whether either spouse has custody of any children and is making child support payments to the other spouse.
There is no predetermined formula to calculate alimony payments, and the amount of payments is decided by the court on a case-by-case basis. The goal is to provide a fair and equitable award to a spouse who has become dependent on the other or who cannot support themselves without the other spouse’s income, or to a spouse who is the primary caretaker of a child with a condition that prevents the caretaker from working outside the home, for example. If you are unsure whether you qualify for alimony payments or not, it is best to consult an attorney before taking any action.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?
The length of alimony payments vary and it is completely up to the judge to determine when alimony payments should end. Generally speaking, some judges may award 1 year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage – but this is not a firm rule and the judge is ultimately responsible for making a decision. Alimony awards can vary from being permanent and lasting until the recipient passes away to lasting only a few years to allow the recipient to gain financial independence and re-enter the job market, for example. There may also be provisions that determine alimony payments should end if the recipient remarries or moves in with a new partner.
Likewise, alimony orders can be modified just like child support orders. If a few years after the alimony order was issued, a spouse can demonstrate a significant change in their circumstances, he or she may petition the court to modify the alimony payment amounts. This needs to be done through a written request to the court, as verbal agreements will likely not have any validity before the court. If you need to request a change in your alimony orders, consult an alimony attorney to better understand the process.
How Can an Alimony Attorney Help?
Whether you have been granted an order to receive alimony payments or you have been ordered to make alimony payments, your financial integrity and well-being are on the line. When you are the recipient, you may benefit from being backed up by a knowledgeable alimony attorney who can help you fight to receive a fair amount to support yourself once your marriage ends. Likewise, if you have been told to pay alimony to your ex, an attorney can help protect your earned income by ensuring the amount your ex is asking for is not exaggerated or unrealistic. At Paré & Associates, LLC, our family law attorneys can assist you with understanding your rights and protecting your financial interests during a divorce or alimony battle. When there is so much on the line, it does not make sense to fight it alone. Call Paré & Associates, LLC today at (301) 962-2492 to schedule a free consultation.