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Frequently Asked Questions About Maryland Alimony

What is alimony?

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is the payment of support by one spouse to the other. Spousal support is awarded only if the judge orders it at one party's request, or if the parties agree to it.

How is alimony determined in Maryland?

There are designated statutory factors that a Maryland court must consider in determining whether to order a party to pay alimony, a few of which include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the parties
  • The ability of the party who is seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting
  • The reasons for the parties' estrangement and divorce
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of time it would take one party to become self-supporting
  • The contributions, both monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family
  • The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her own financial needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony

What are the different types of alimony?

There are three types of alimony in Maryland: alimony pendente lite, rehabilitative alimony, and indefinite alimony.

Alimony pendente lite is a form of support awarded during the divorce process and terminates on or before the date the divorce is final. A court can award this type of alimony between the time you file for divorce (and make a request for alimony) and the time the divorce is final. The purpose of this type of alimony is to maintain the status quo during the litigation.

Rehabilitative alimony is the most likely form of alimony that is awarded, if at all. This type of alimony is awarded for a limited duration and is designed to help one party become self-supporting.

Indefinite alimony is rarely awarded, but it may be appropriate under the circumstances of your case. Under Maryland law, a person may receive indefinite alimony only if, due to age, illness, or a disability, he or she cannot (1) make reasonable progress toward becoming self-supporting or (2) even if reasonable progress is possible, the lifestyles of the parties will be unconscionably disparate following the divorce without an indefinite alimony award.

When does alimony end?

Unless the parties agree otherwise, alimony terminates on the death of either party; on the marriage of the spouse receiving alimony; or if the court finds that termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.

Is alimony modifiable?

Maryland alimony awards may be modified, extended, or changed or ended in the future. This may happen if one of the ex-spouses asks the court to consider the alimony amount in the future and circumstances have changed.

If you would like more information, or if you have a question that was not answered here, we invite you to contact us at (301)762-2528 or using our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

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