What is Alimony Pendente Lite Under Maryland Family Law?
Alimony pendente lite is a temporary form of spousal support available under Maryland family law. A person going through divorce or a similar measure may request these temporary support payments while the legal process runs its course. Once the divorce or annulment is complete, alimony pendente lite expires automatically.
Generally speaking, an award of alimony pendente lite follows the same rules and regulations as an award of regular alimony. Though as alimony pendente lite is limited to the time frame of litigation, it operates in a slightly different way from standard spousal support payments.
When Can the Maryland Courts Award Alimony Pendente Lite?
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 11-102, there are only three situations in which a person can receive alimony pendente lite. This type of temporary spousal support is only available while the Maryland courts review a:
- Request for marriage annulment;
- Bill of complaint for alimony; or
- Petition for divorce.
There is an important exception. This exception applies when the grounds for divorce are based on separation due to one party’s residence in a mental institution or similar facility. In these cases, alimony pendente lite is not available to the spouse of the person committed to a mental institution or similar facility.
In all other legal proceedings concerning annulment, alimony, or divorce, the Maryland courts have the power to award alimony on a temporary basis. Though as noted previously, alimony pendente lite only lasts until completion of the legal proceedings in question. So the Maryland courts must determine whether either spouse needs alimony pendente lite during the legal process, applying the factors outlined in the following section.
How Much Alimony Pendente Lite Can the Maryland Courts Award?
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 11-106, the state courts are responsible for determining the amount of alimony pendente lite. Before making such a determination, the Maryland courts must first evaluate certain factors, including the:
- Self-sufficiency of each spouse;
- Financial resources and needs of each spouse;
- Age as well as mental and physical condition of each spouse;
- Duration of time the spouses were married;
- Standards of living established during the marriage;
- Grounds for divorce, if any;
- Ability to pay alimony, if awarded; and
- Various other factors.
After examining all relevant factors, the Maryland state courts then decide whether it is fair to award alimony pendente lite to either party. Above all is else, the state courts must ensure that any award of alimony pendente lite is reasonable. If an award of alimony pendente lite would lead to an unfair or unreasonable outcome, then the Maryland courts are unlikely to make such an award.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about alimony or spousal support in Maryland, it can be especially beneficial to contact a knowledgeable family law attorney. The Bel Air alimony attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including alimony and spousal support. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.