In Maryland, spouses have a duty to support each other. The duty to support does not end after the decision to separate or divorce. Unlike in child support, there are no specific or set alimony guidelines. There is no set formula for determine how much alimony one spouse will pay to the other. The Court considers a number of factors in making alimony decisions. The alimony factors are codified in Maryland Code Family Law Section 11-106. The factors for the Court’s consideration are:
1 – the ability of the parties seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
2 – the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
3 – the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
4 – the duration of the marriage;
5 – the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each of the party to the well-being of the family;
6 – the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
7 – the age of each party;
8 – the physical and mental condition of each party;
9 – the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
10 – any agreement between the parties;
11 – the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
12 – all income and assets, including all property that does not produce income;
13 – any monetary award concerning property and award of possession and use of the family property
14 – the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
15 – the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
16 – 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.
WHEN DOES ALIMONY BEGIN? WHEN DOES IT END?
Alimony can be ordered both during the course of the litigation, which is referred to as “pending lite”. Pendente lite alimony is intended to help maintain the “status quo”, until a final decision can be rendered in a divorce action. Alimony can also be part of the final divorce Order. There are two types of alimony that can be part of the final divorce order: 1.) rehabilitative alimony and 2.) indefinite alimony. Rehabilitative is temporary usually a period of a couple of years. Indefinite continues for a long period of time usually until the death of the recipient spouse or until the recipient spouse remarries.
Rehabilitative alimony is designed to be a short-term solution to allow a spouse to establish themselves after divorce. The alimony is awarded to allow the recipient spouse to go back to school or obtain certification in order to enter the job market or be competitive in the job market. It allows the recipient spouse to develop skills that may have been lost or delayed so that the spouse has time to find employment.
Indefinite alimony is most often awarded when the dependent spouse cannot (1) make reasonable progress toward becoming self-supporting or (2) even if the spouse can make reasonable progress toward becoming self-supporting, the standard of living between the two parties would be “unconscionably disparate”. “Unconscionably disparate” means that there is a very large and unfair difference between your living standards. Indefinite alimony is most common if the dependent spouse is older, has been out of the work place for a long time, is disabled or mentally ill.
For more information on Alimony In A Maryland Divorce Case, an initial consultation is your best next step.
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