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Maryland Spousal Support and Marital Property
Either party may claim alimony or spousal support from the other based upon a great variety of factors that affect the equities of the case, such as the respective income, needs and resources of the parties. Although the circumstances that led to the parties' estrangement are considered by the court, adultery or other fault does not automatically preclude the award of alimony. Alimony may be awarded for a limited period of time as a rehabilitative measure. Permanent alimony, ending upon death or remarriage, is awarded in more exceptional situations where a party cannot become self-supporting or where there is an unconscionable disparity in earning capacity. If no alimony is awarded prior to the final decree, the court cannot thereafter award it, unless the power to do so is reserved.
Unless the parties come to an agreement, the court may enter a monetary award against one party and in favor of the other based upon a valuation of marital property, excluding gifts and inheritances to a particular spouse. The court also has the power to divide joint property, pension plans and retirement funds. The tracing of the source of assets, their valuation and their equitable division can be difficult issues in a contested case.
A couple married or living as residents in Maryland for at least one year, or two years depending on the grounds of divorce specified, can file for divorce.
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