Spousal Support (Alimony) in Maryland
Spousal Support, also referred to as alimony, can be one of the most complex issues in a divorce, and certainly one that causes concern and anxiety for both spouses. Spousal support, unlike child support, is not governed by statutorily mandated guidelines but may be awarded at the discretion of the court after consideration of various factors. Accordingly, an award of spousal support and the amount are not as easily ascertainable as child support. At the Arn Family Law, we can analyze the specific facts of your case and advise you how those facts will impact your request for spousal support or ability to defend against a spousal support claim.
There are three types of spousal support in Maryland:
Pendente Lite (or temporary) Spousal Support
Pendente Lite Spousal Support is an award of support made during the pendency of a divorce case. The goal of Pendente lite spousal support is to maintain the status quo existing prior to the filing of the divorce action. In making a Pendente lite spousal support award the court will consider only the financial need of the spouse requesting support and the ability of the other spouse to pay support.
Rehabilitative Support is an award of support providing a spouse with resources for a limited period of time sufficient to allow them to become self-supporting. In making such an award, the court will consider the following factors:
- Ability to become self-supporting
- Time for education or retraining to find employment
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Contributions, monetary and non-monetary, to the well-being of the family
- Cause of breakdown of marriage
- Age of each party
- Physical and mental condition of each party
- Ability of a payor spouse to meet their own needs while paying alimony
- Any agreement between the parties
- Financial needs and resources of each party:
b. Any monetary award or use and possession order
c. Financial obligations of the parties
d. Right to receive retirement benefits
Permanent alimony is disfavored under Maryland Law and may only be awarded where the court finds that:
- Due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, the party seeking spousal support cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting, or
- Even after the party seeking alimony will have made as much progress toward becoming self-supporting as can reasonably be expected, the respective standards of living of the two parties will be unconscionably disparate.