Under Maryland law, married people are financially responsible for each other and have the duty to financially support each other. There are two types of spousal support which can be paid in Maryland. The first is called alimony pedente lite and is paid during the wait for the divorce to be finalised. It does not necessarily mean that alimony will be paid after the divorce. The second is alimony after the divorce.
Rehabilitative support is paid after the divorce for a certain period of time. The purpose of this alimony is to provide sufficient time to the recipient to become self-supporting. In making such an award the court will consider these factors:
- Ability for the spouse receiving alimony to be self-supporting.
- The time it will take the spouse to undergo any necessary education or training to find employment.
- The duration and standard of living during the marriage.
- The contributions the spouse has made to the well-being of the family.
- The age of each spouse.
- The reason for divorce.
- Physical and mental health of both spouses.
- If the spouse paying alimony can meet his or her own needs as well as paying alimony.
- Any agreement between the spouses.
- The financial needs and income of each party.
- Any financial obligation either party may have.
- Whether either party receives retirement benefits.
Alimony payments may be ended or altered in the future. This may happen if one party requests the court to modify the existing spousal support agreement. At any time either spouse may request the court to increase, decrease or terminate spousal support. Spousal support automatically terminates in the event of death, the recipient spouse remarries or if the court finds that the termination of spousal support is necessary to avoid a harsh and unfair result.
Permanent alimony is a payment made by one party to another after a divorce. It can be awarded by court or the spouses might have come to this agreement together. This requires one spouse to pay alimony to another spouse for the remainder of his or her life. Permanent alimony is disfavoured in Maryland and is only awarded in certain cases. This includes if the party seeking spousal support cannot reasonably be expected to be self-supporting due to age, physical or mental health or disability. Or if the party seeking alimony, cannot match previous living standards or there is a large and unfair difference between the living standard of the other party and the party seeking spousal support, even after becoming self-supporting.
In Maryland, a spouse seeking alimony must make a claim during the divorce procedure. Failure to do so means the spouse seeking spousal support may not come back after the divorce has been finalised and make an alimony claim. Alimony can only be awarded before the final ending of the marriage.
Some spouses may wish to sign an agreement without the courts help in determining spousal support. They may come to an agreement on the amount and duration of spousal support. In Maryland, the court is most likely to be bound by this agreement. In some cases, the agreement reached by the spouses might be broader than what the court will have ordered.
If you need a Maryland spousal support lawyer to help you with your spousal support case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland spousal support attorneys can help you.