Either spouse may request alimony, also known as spousal support, in a divorce proceeding. This includes asking for it on a pendente lite basis prior to a full hearing.
Factors considered by the court in determining if alimony should be granted include:
- respective income levels
- the ability of the spouse seeking alimony to become self-supporting
- length of the marriage
- standard of living of the parties during their marriage
- any special needs of the parties and its impact on employment, assets, financial resources and expenses
- any agreements entered into by the parties
The basis for divorce is considered by the court in determining alimony; however, fault does not guarantee alimony.
Temporary alimony may be awarded pending conclusion of the case.
Alimony is viewed as a rehabilitative measure for a limited time period; however, it may be awarded for an indefinite period if termination would be unconscionable.
There are alimony guidelines in Maryland, but they are not statutorily mandated as they are in child support determinations. However, they can provide helpful guidance in conjunction with an analysis of each party’s income and expenses.
The law does recognize two circumstances when a court may award indefinite alimony:
- The first circumstance is when the party requesting alimony cannot reasonably become rehabilitated and be self-supporting because of age, illness, infirmity, or disability.
- The second circumstance is when the party seeking alimony, after making as much progress to become self-supporting as possible, results in an unequal standard of living of the parties. Rehabilitative alimony may be extended to avoid this issue.
Since alimony is not statutorily mandated, a party seeking alimony needs an experienced attorney who understands the factors that weigh into an alimony determination and can effectively articulate those factors to the court, if necessary.
FLAG attorneys have obtained favorable alimony awards in many cases.
Our attorneys will take the time necessary to communicate with you and determine your needs and the financial impact a divorce will have on your quality of your life.
The goal of alimony is rehabilitative in nature, giving the party who was not employed or who makes substantially less income an opportunity to enhance their skills or training to increase their income potential.
FLAG can assist you in obtaining a fair and equitable alimony award or ensure that a payment amount represents a true need in maintaining a certain standard of living.