Broadly speaking, alimony has two components: the amount of the alimony and the duration over which the payments are made. Both the payer and the payee often want to know when the alimony payments will end. The answer is not always clear, and a party would benefit from consulting competent counsel about their specific circumstances.
In Maryland, when setting or modifying the duration of an alimony award, the court undertakes a fact specific inquiry. The factors that the court is required to consider include (but are not limited to) the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting; the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage; the duration of the marriage; the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; the physical and mental condition of each party; the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony; and the financial needs and financial resources of each party. As many of these factors have a subjective element, the court will exercise its discretion in deciding whether or when alimony will terminate. Since the factors include subjective elements and the court has broad discretion, it is often difficult to accurately predict the duration of an alimony award.
Through settlement negotiations, you may have the ability to create resolutions which give you greater clarity or certainty regarding the term over which alimony is paid. By agreement, the term of alimony might end after the occurrence of a particular event (such as turning a specified age or starting to receive a specified retirement benefit). By agreement, the term of alimony might end after certain specified conditions are met (such as the payor’s income is reduced to “X” or the payee’s income has increased to “Y”). Alimony might also be structured to pay different amounts at different times until terminated.
Contact Andalman & Flynn divorce attorneys Maryland with your questions about the duration of an alimony award. Our experienced family law lawyers are familiar with your opinions regarding alimony. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
You might also be interested in: