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Maryland Alimony

Either party to a divorce may seek alimony upon dissolution. The court considers the parties financial needs and other relevant factors in determining whether alimony is appropriate.

Alimony in Maryland terminates upon the death of either party, upon the remarriage of the recipient, or due to change of circumstances.

Maryland courts may consider fault in determining alimony awards.

The court usually considers the duration of the marriage and age and health of the spouse, the existing financial assets of the spouse, the ability of the spouse to be self-sustaining (as well as the time required for the spouse to receive sufficient training to enter the workforce) and the standard of living during the course of the marriage. The court considers what the spouse received during the division of marital property, including retirement benefits from the other spouse.

Alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the Maryland Court can order support on a case-by-case basis. So if one spouse is awarded alimony, this may offset his or her share of the marital property.

Types of Alimony

Maryland courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-Term, or permanent, alimony may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages. This mean that alimony may be awarded to one spouse temporarily or indefinitely, depending on certain factors.

Factors Considered by the Court

Alimony is discretionary in Maryland, meaning the court decides whether support is appropriate. Alimony can last for a short amount of time or for many years. Length of alimony award depends on the circumstances of the parties, length of marriage, and other factors the court determines to be important.

According to the Maryland Code - Family Law Chapter - Section: 11-106, the court determines the amount and duration of alimony after consideration of all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award. These include the following:

  • the ability of the spouse desiring alimony to become self supporting;
  • the time necessary for the spouse seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
  • the standard of living while married;
  • the length of the marriage;
  • the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  • the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the spouses;
  • the ages of the spouses;
  • the health conditions of the spouses;
  • the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that spouses needs while meeting the needs of the spouse seeking alimony;
  • any mutual agreement between the spouses;
  • the financial needs and financial resources of each spouse, including:
    • whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.

The court may award alimony for an indefinite period, if the court finds that:

  • due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, the party seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting; or
  • even after the party seeking alimony will have made as much progress toward becoming self-supporting as can reasonably be expected, the respective standards of living of the parties will be unconscionably disparate.

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