Alimony Law

The state of Maryland recognizes a number of different types of alimony, and working with an experienced Rockville, MD, alimony attorney will help ensure an equitable arrangement in your divorce. Currently the state of Maryland recognizes Pendete lite alimony, rehabilitative alimony and permanent or indefinite alimony; however, a range of different factors will affect the court’s decision concerning your specific case.

  • Pendente Lite Alimony – Pendente lite alimony can be requested, and awarded, during the pendency of the litigation process:  that is to say between the time you file a complaint wherein alimony is quested but before the Court issues a final determination concerning alimony.  The purpose of this type of alimony is to maintain the status quo during the divorce. The test an award of pendente lite alimony is need vs. ability to pay and an award of pendente lite alimony does not have any bearing on the amount or duration of alimony a party may be awarded at the final divorce hearing.
  • Rehabilitative or Indefinite Alimony – The two (2) types of alimony which can be awarded at a final hearing is rehabilitative alimony or indefinite alimony.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony is intended to be a short-term measure which enables a spouse to get back on his or her feet. Alimony is awarded to enable the other spouse to go back to school or to acquire needed skills that would enable the spouse to be competitive in the job market. Usually a spouse who has chosen the role of becoming a homemaker and raising children has not been able to develop the skills necessary for productive and gainful employment.
  • Indefinite or Permanent Alimony continues for a long period of time, possibly until the death of the party receiving the alimony and is usually awarded when one of the parties is unable to work due to age physical or mental illness. This is a relatively rare type of alimony awarded with no specific end point. You may receive alimony if (because of your age, an illness, or a disability) you cannot (1) make reasonable progress toward supporting yourself or (2) even if you can make reasonable progress; your ex-spouse’s standard of living is “unconscionably disparate” from yours. “Unconscionably disparate” means that there is a very large and unfair difference between your living standards. Alimony awards may be 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.

Alimony Factors

The Court will consider a list of factors in deciding if you or your spouse should get alimony. These factors include: length of your marriage; your financial situation during the marriage, now and in the future; your age, physical and mental health; and the reasons for the divorce. How important each factor is will depend on individual circumstances and judges (and masters) have very broad discretion. Take the alimony quiz to see if you should consider a claim for alimony.

The court is required to consider not just the above alimony factors but shall consider all the factors for a fair and equitable award, including: but not limited to:

  • the ability of the parties seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
  • the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
  • the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each of the party to the well-being of the family;
  • the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
  • the age of each party;
  • the physical and mental condition of each party;
  • the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
  • any agreement between the parties;
  • the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
    • all income and assets, including all property that does not produce income;
    • any monetary award concerning property and award of possession and use of the family property
    • the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
    • the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
  • whether the award would cause a paying spouse or a spouse who is a resident of a care facility with more than two patients to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.

Although the court is not required to use a formal checklist, it must demonstrate consideration of all necessary factors, including any that are not expressly listed in this section. Such “other factors” can be defined as any factors that the court may deem necessary or appropriate in order to arrive at a fair and equitable award of alimony.