How much alimony am I going to have to pay? This is one of the most frequent questions I hear. And it’s the most difficult one to answer in Maryland.
In Maryland, it’s practically impossible to predict what amount or for how long you will be receiving alimony. Typically, if your spouse and your salary doesn’t vary by more than three times and you two have relatively similar wealth, then you should be reasonably assured of not having to pay alimony; at least not the indefinite type of alimony. But if your case is what divorce lawyers call a probable “alimony case” (usually so called because incomes between spouses vary by more than three times), then it is imperative that you use a lawyer who is well versed in the 12 factors of alimony and is an excellent negotiator or litigator. How your case is presented will determine what amount you will be paying and for how long.
Alimony Can Vary Case by Case
I recently attended a state bar association conference in Ocean City where a panel of a dozen judges opined on how much alimony and for how long they would award in various scenarios. Not only did the Judges vary widely among themselves, but their own reasoning varied from case to case. And often times, some of the judges would apply factors unpredictably different in the various different scenarios.
Alimony Guidelines in Maryland
In Maryland, there are two guidelines that our Judges may consider. They are:
- The alimony guidelines of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), and
- The “Bruce Kaufman” Guidelines (named after a very prominent family lawyer who is deceased).
In the vast majority of cases, the AAML guidelines will result in higher alimony amounts than the Bruce Kaufman guidelines. You want to be aware of whether one or both of the guidelines favor your position so that you’re prepared for court, mediation or arbitration. Keep in mind, however, that although Maryland Judges may consider one or both of these guidelines, they do not have to do so. Maryland Judges are statutorily required to consider each of the twelve factors provided in the Family Law Code and explain in their ruling how they applied each of those factors.
In addition to using these guidelines for litigation purposes, I have found the guidelines to be very useful in settling cases when I’m hired as a Mediator or representing a client in the Collaborative Law Process, Many a case settles when the parties look at both guideline calculations and consider either an average of the two calculations or some other number in between the two calculations. Further, each of the guidelines provide recommendations as to the duration of alimony.
Need Help Determining Alimony Payments in Maryland? Contact Andalman & Flynn
Because getting a divorce doesn’t happen overnight, it is important that you seek legal advice from experienced alimony attorneys on how to obtain or defend against any type of alimony award, including pendent lite alimony, as soon as you can.
Fill out an online contact form if you need help determining alimony payments in the Montgomery County or nearby Baltimore areas.
Mary Ellen Flynn has over 27 years of experience as a Divorce Lawyer. She has the highest attorney ratings by both Martindale-Hubell (“AV Preeminent”®) and Avvo (“10”) and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in Maryland every year since 2008.
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