Going through a divorce is never easy—and neither is figuring out your finances as you start a new way of life on your own. But alimony laws in Maryland can help you ease through the transition so you won’t be scrambling to support yourself when you once relied on your spouse.
At Andalman & Flynn, we can help protect your rights, whether you’re seeking an alimony payment or defending against one. Schedule a consultation today and an experienced alimony attorney in Silver Spring will work to provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
Who Can Receive Alimony Payments?
Are you wondering if you’re eligible to receive alimony payments? Alimony may be awarded to:
- Ensure the economic self-sufficiency of the dependent spouse
- Ensure an equitable distribution of the marital estate
- Prevent an unconscionable disparity between an economically dependent and economically dominant spouse
Types of Alimony
Maryland law has several different types of alimony: pendente lite, which is alimony awarded for a specific time period, term alimony, also known as rehabilitative alimony, and indefinite alimony.
Alimony Pendente Lite
Pendente lite alimony is an award that maintains the status quo of the parties so that the wife or husband doesn’t suffer any financial hardship while they are waiting for their divorce proceedings to be finalized. There are four elements (or factors) that must be proven before a pendente lite award will be granted:
- Proof of the marriage
- Proof that a divorce proceeding is pending (meaning you have already filed for divorce)
- Proof that the spouse requesting the alimony needs it
- Proof that the other spouse has the ability to pay
Pendente lite alimony can become term or indefinite alimony once a divorce has been granted.
Term or Rehabilitative Alimony
Term Alimony, commonly known as rehabilitative alimony, is awarded only for a specific period of time and for the purpose of easing the transition from being married into living apart from one another and independently. This type of alimony allows for a dependent spouse to obtain education or skills needed to become self-supporting.
The elements the court considers when making a term alimony award are:
- The ability of the party seeking alimony to be self-supporting
- The time it may take for that party to gain education and training
- The standard of living the parties had during their marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The contributions each party made to their marriage and family
- What circumstances led to the divorce
- The age and physical and mental condition of the parties
- The financial needs of each party
In rare instances, the court may award alimony for an indefinite period of time. The court must find that (1) due to age, illness, infirmity, or disparity, the party seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting, or (2) that even after the party seeking alimony will have made progress towards becoming self-supporting, the standards of living between the two spouses will be so disparate that it would be unconscionable.
Maryland Alimony Attorney
There are two well-known guidelines often followed by the courts when determining alimony payments in Maryland: AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) and Kaufman, both of which take into account the length of the marriage and how much each party makes. However, while some judges consider these guidelines for determining alimony payments, it is not mandatory to do so.
It’s also important to note that an alimony award terminates upon the first of three events to occur:
- The death of one party
- The re-marriage of the receiving party
- The court finding that termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result
Because determining alimony can be subjective, and is totally dependent on the specific facts of the marriage and family life of the spouses, navigating the court system to get an alimony award or defending against one is very complex. The alimony attorneys at Andalman & Flynn can provide you with the assistance you need—schedule a consultation today and we’ll work to make sure your best interests are protected through this difficult time!