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Will spousal maintenance become part of your divorce?

When people get married, most do not think of what life will be like with their partner 10, 20, or 30 years down the road. Although our Maryland readers would think that most people get married believing that they will live “happily ever after,” most people know that the current divorce statistics say that about half will be disappointed. Still, a divorce can be a new beginning, and for many, that is just the opportunity they are looking for a chance to put the past behind them and move on with life. However, some will encounter a legal obligation they never saw coming -spousal maintenance/alimony.

Alimony, commonly referred to as “spousal support” in legal circles, is an agreement by which one divorcing spouse pays a set monthly payment to the other, usually for a set amount of time. But, as one recent article pointed out, there are a variety of factors for the court to consider when determining both the amount to be paid and the length of time the payment will be required.

However, even after an initial order of alimony, changes in income or living expenses can factor into a subsequent request for a spousal support modification. It is much like child support in that sense, although the difference is that while most child support orders expire once the child reaches a certain adult age, alimony orders can last much longer.

Because there are many valid reasons why one former spouse should receive spousal maintenance from the other, particularly when one is better suited to make more money after sacrifices made by the other, it is usually best for the parties to reach an alimony agreement with which both are comfortable. Although this may be a tall order, doing so can alleviate concerns about future problems, including the failure to pay spousal maintenance.

Source: Business Insider, “It’s Sad How Many Divorcees Are Sentenced To A Lifetime Of Alimony Payments,” Geoff Williams, Jan. 28, 2013

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