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Inequality of Alimony Considerations for Same-Sex Couples

May 26, 2015 | Divorce Law, Family Law, Separation and Divorce

By:  Amanda Vann, Esq.


There are 12 factors that a Maryland Court must consider when making a determination of alimony.  Four of the twelve factors are directed towards the length of the marriage:

  1. The standard of living that the parties established during their marriage
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The contributions, monetary and non-monetary of each party to the well-being of the family
  4. Any agreement between the parties

However, the application of these factors creates an inequality when the determination is being made for a same-sex couple.

Same-Sex Alimony and the Inequalities Created

Many same-sex couples have been in long-term committed relationships. However, until January 1, 2013, same-sex couples were not able to marry in Maryland. Now that Maryland recognizes same-sex marriages, the statutes addressing divorce, including alimony, seem to be creating additional inequalities for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriages have only been recognized in Maryland for 2 years, a very short term. A long-term same-sex relationship will not be provided with the same protections and rights when getting divorced as if the couple had been married for the duration of their long-term relationship. The Court is left with the question of what weight to give to these four factors when marriage for same-sex couples has only been an option for two years. The Court’s considerations of the length of the marriage, rather than the length of the committed relationship, can have a huge impact on an award of alimony.

Until such time as the Maryland General Assembly can address and resolve the inequalities applied to same same-sex marriages or case law sets precedent on the determination of alimony for same-sex couples using the established alimony factors, one should seek the legal advice of an attorney.  It is important to find an attorney with knowledge of the inequalities and limitations same-sex divorcing couples face, so that they can assist you in the application of the laws to your specific situation.

Need an Alimony Attorney in Maryland? Contact Us!

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, particularly for same-sex couples.

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!