As a general rule, alimony payments are meant to assist a spouse with less earning power maintain a standard of living similar to their married life for a certain period of time. Depending on the length of the marriage and state law, these payments can last a few months, years, or even permanently.
Attempts to change and limit alimony
Many states have tried to limit or cap alimony payments in recent years, as it is becoming less realistic for one spouse to financially support the other for extended periods of time, especially since people now tend to move and switch careers more often than ever. This gained national attention as some divorced individuals were struggling financially to support an ex-husband or wife decades after they separated. The situation was common enough that an alimony reform movement started after people began to share stories online. Some were even threatened with jail sentences by the courts if they were behind on payments.
The three kinds of alimony in the state
Maryland’s alimony laws are a bit simpler than other states because there are only three types that may be awarded.
- Alimony during divorce proceedings – This is a short term form of alimony that is meant to eliminate the disruption of a divorce until it is finalized. A court may order the spouse with greater earning power to make payments to the other during the duration of the divorce.
- Alimony for rehabilitation – This is done to essentially help a spouse with less earning power get back on their feet financially in the months or years immediately following a divorce.
- Permanent alimony – When a marriage has lasted for a very long time and one spouse has never worked outside of the home, the courts can require the breadwinner of the family to pay alimony to the other spouse forever. This is rare in current times, and it is usually only ordered by a judge if the dependent spouse is now too old or ill to earn their own income.
In most cases, courts will only award alimony for a limited amount of time to help a spouse become self-sufficient, rather than encourage continued financial dependency even after a divorce.
What are some ways a court determines if alimony will be awarded and the duration?
The main things that will affect this award in Maryland are the length of the marriage and the amount of time it will realistically take for the spouse with lesser earning power to become financially stable following a separation. Usually grounds for a divorce such as adultery or abandonment will have little to no effect on an award of alimony. The remarriage of the spouse who receives alimony will also terminate alimony payments from the prior spouse. As a general rule, the spouse who has primary custody of any children involved in the divorce is more likely to receive alimony payments as well.
Talk to a divorce lawyer in Rockville
For expert advice regarding alimony and any other questions about a divorce, contact Barkley and Kennedy Chartered. Their attorneys are ready to assist you with any of these issues.