The issue of spousal support or alimony is a frequent point of contention in many Maryland divorce cases. As such, the decision to grant alimony depends heavily on the circumstances of each case. To make sure the judge understands your situation, it’s important to present all the facts. Our spousal support lawyers in Maryland at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC can help with that. Call us at (410) LAW-YERS or reach out to us online to discuss how we can best represent your interests.
Alimony Laws in Maryland
The idea behind alimony is to help the receiving spouse maintain a similar standard of living to what they had during the marriage, especially if there is a notable income disparity. Knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyers can explain the different types of spousal support in the state:
- Temporary Alimony (Pendente Lite): This is awarded during the divorce proceedings. It is short-term and meant to support the lower-earning spouse until the divorce is final.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This is designed to support the receiving spouse for a limited time, so they can get a chance to become financially independent, maybe through education or job training.
- Indefinite Alimony: Less common, but it can be awarded if the receiving spouse cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress towards earning an income, maybe due to their age, illness, or disability.
Just like child custody, spousal support is not automatic in Maryland. If you are seeking alimony, the court will look at several factors to decide if you are eligible and how much amount should you receive. A Maryland family lawyer at a reputable law firm can explain various factors, such as:
- Both spouses’ ability to support themselves: The judge will check if the spouse who wants alimony can earn enough money to support themselves.
- Time for school or training: The court considers how long it will take for that spouse to learn new skills to find a good job.
- Lifestyle during marriage: What kind of lifestyle did the couple have while they were married?
- How long the marriage lasted: The longer the marriage, the more likely alimony might be awarded.
- What each spouse contributed: This includes who earned money and who took care of the home or kids.
- Why the marriage ended: The reasons behind the marriage falling apart.
- Ages of both spouses: Older spouses might get alimony, especially if they have been out of work for a while.
- Health of both spouses: If someone is not well and cannot work, this is taken into account.
- Other spouse’s ability to pay: They look at whether the spouse who is supposed to pay alimony can afford it without struggling themselves.
- How many assets each spouse has: This includes earnings, property, retirement funds, and other financial resources.
- Any agreements they made: If the couple agreed on something about alimony themselves, this may supersede any other decisions.
- Who caused the divorce: If the divorce happened because of something specific one spouse did, it might affect alimony.
Can Alimony Be Modified or Terminated?
If there is a momentous change in the financial circumstances of either ex-spouse, they can request a modification. For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or the receiving spouse gets a high-paying job, they can ask the court to issue a new order. However, the judge will always have the final discretion to decide if an adjustment is justified.
A seasoned divorce lawyer can explain to you the circumstances when it’s possible to discontinue paying alimony in Howard County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore County, or other areas in Maryland. The key circumstances include:
- The spouse receiving it gets remarried
- If the recipient is living with another partner in a marriage-like relationship
- If the alimony was set for a specific period
- If either the payer or the recipient passes away
Our Alimony Lawyers Can Help Resolve Your Spousal Support Case
For cases involving spousal support, whether you are requesting it or contesting it, it is important to have a family law attorney who knows the ropes. These decisions can be unpredictable as they completely rely on the judge and not on any set rules.At Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC, our family law attorneys have over 250 combined years of successfully advocating for our clients during all steps of the divorce process, be it out-of-court negotiations or in-court battles. Schedule a free, confidential consultation today to discuss your family law matters. You can leave us a message online or call our law office at (410) LAW-YERS.