Alimony can be a dreaded topic for many parties going through divorce in Maryland, whether you are the one who wants to request it or might need to pay it – especially when you are not familiar with Maryland alimony laws. Along with asset division and issues related to minor children, spousal support is often one of the most hotly contested aspects of a divorce case. Plus, thanks to TV and film, it is also among the most misunderstood issues that spouses face. Unless you have a legal background, you may find it tough to separate the truth from falsehoods.
Fortunately, you can trust your Maryland alimony attorney to tackle the specifics when it comes to paying spousal support in a divorce case. You can still benefit from understanding the basics, however, so this true-false guide on Maryland alimony laws is a good start.
The parties can agree on spousal support during and after divorce: True.
Regardless of how divorce is depicted in fictional accounts, many spouses are able to resolve issues related to alimony by agreement. The spouses can also agree that alimony will be non-modifiable, which means that the award will remain as the parties agreed without any future modification. Plus, you can even agree on alimony pendente lite, a concept which refers to payments from one spouse to the other while the divorce case is active. One party may need that financial support during proceedings that can last several months to more than a year.
The wife is entitled to alimony: False.
While this assumption may have been true decades ago, Maryland’s alimony law allows a judge to award support to either party in a divorce case. The issue will come before the court via a petition for alimony, and both husband and wife have standing to request spousal support.
Misconduct does not determine spousal support: True.
There are multiple grounds that a spouse can claim when filing for divorce, including adultery, desertion, cruelty of treatment, , and others. In addition, Maryland allows for “no-fault” divorce, which means you do not need to prove a specific reason for seeking to end your marriage; instead, you need to be separated for a full year.
Regardless of whether the basis for divorce relates to alleged misconduct, these matters are separate from spousal support. The statute provides that wrongdoing alone is not an absolute bar to awarding alimony. The only link between misconduct and spousal support might be where a party’s misconduct affected the aggrieved party’s financial interests.
Judges have unlimited discretion in awarding alimony: False.
Maryland’s statute contains an itemized list of factors that a court shall consider as necessary for a fair and equitable award of spousal support. Some are directed at ensuring the recipient spouse can become self-supporting through education and training. Other considerations include:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The lifestyle that each party enjoyed while married;
- The age, mental health, and physical condition of each party;
- The financial needs and resources of each spouse after division of marital property; and,
- The contributions the parties invested in the marriage and household.
In most cases, an award of alimony will be limited in terms of duration; however, a judge may award indefinite spousal support where circumstances indicate that the recipient will not become self-sufficient or where even after a party is able to become self-sufficient, the standards of living of the parties would be unconscionably disparate.
A Maryland Spousal Maintenance Lawyer Can Provide Specific Details
A true-false guide on Maryland alimony laws is helpful, but you are at a disadvantage in protecting your rights by just knowing the basics. For more information and details on how we can support your interests, please contact The McKeon Law Firm. You can call our Gaithersburg or Bethesda, Maryland offices at 301-417-9222 or 202-742-1800 to set up a telephone or remote video conference with one of our attorneys. Once we have a chance to review your circumstances, we can advise you on strategies regarding spousal support.