How Does Maryland Determine The Amount & Duration Of Alimony?
Alimony is a version of spousal support in Maryland that is available to certain people who were formerly married. The state courts may award alimony on its own or as part of a decree granting an annulment or absolute or limited divorce. Though if the parties executed a marital separation agreement with respect to alimony, the Maryland courts are bound by such an agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, the Maryland courts determine the amount and duration of alimony based on required considerations.
Amount/Duration of Alimony in Maryland
The rules for the amount and duration of alimony appear at Maryland Code of Family Law Section 11-106. Under this section:
- The Maryland courts determine the appropriate amount of alimony;
- The Maryland courts determine the appropriate duration of alimony; and
- Alimony does not typically accrue past the end of the court-determined duration.
In this context, the Maryland courts usually set a specific end date for alimony support obligations. But in rare cases, the Maryland courts may award alimony for an indefinite or undetermined amount of time if:
- The party requesting alimony cannot become reasonably self-sufficient due to age, disability, illness, or infirmity; or
- Even if the party requesting alimony becomes reasonably self-sufficient, there remains an unconscionable disparity in standards of living.
Ultimately, the Maryland courts must ensure that any award of alimony is fair and equitable. In order to do so, the Maryland courts evaluate various factors and considerations, as explained in more detail below.
Required Considerations for Alimony in Maryland
Section 11-106 also furnishes the required considerations for awarding alimony in Maryland. Before awarding alimony under this section, the Maryland courts must evaluate considerations that include but are not necessarily limited to:
- The ability of each party to become partially or totally self-sufficient;
- The education or training required for either party to obtain suitable employment;
- The standard of living the parties established while married;
- The amount of time the parties were married;
- The monetary and non-monetary contributions each party made for the well-being of the family;
- The reasons and circumstances for the irreconcilable differences between the parties;
- The age, physical health, and mental condition of each party;
- The financial capability a party to actually pay alimony;
- The financial needs and resources of each party; and
- The existence of a marital separation agreement or similar device that relates to alimony.
Once again, there is a fairness requirement for alimony in Maryland. If the required considerations above indicate that an award of alimony would be unfair or inequitable, the Maryland courts will likely deny the request.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with alimony under Maryland family law, it can be highly useful to contact a dependable Bel Air alimony attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including alimony. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.