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, then depending on the circumstances, the court can 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. Alimony can be awarded to either spouse after the court considers certain factors.
Unlike child support, alimony is not calculated upon any particular formula; it depends on several variables including:
An award of alimony is subject to the discretion of the judge depending on the individual circumstances of each case. 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.
The duration of the alimony award is also subject to the discretion of the court. Alimony can be for a specific duration of time, or maybe “indefinite.” Indefinite alimony continues until an alternate court order is made, the remarriage of the recipient, or the death of either party.
Alimony can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in relevant factors. 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.
If you are being sued for alimony, or if you need alimony to support yourself after a divorce, you should have a divorce or alimony attorney. We are experienced in pursuing and defendant alimony cases. Please call us for a free fifteen-minute phone consultation if you would like to discuss the likelihood of alimony in your case.