Navigating through a divorce is complex. One area that raises many questions is alimony. To clarify, our family law attorney has compiled a list of seven common questions people in Maryland often ask about alimony.
If you’re considering divorce or are in the midst of one, consult a family law attorney in Maryland to discuss your specific circumstances.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support paid by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. Alimony is designed to provide a fair economic balance between the two parties, especially if one spouse has been financially dependent on the other.
In Maryland, there are three types of alimony:
Pendente Lite Alimony (Temporary Alimony During the Divorce Process)
Pendente Lite Alimony is a temporary form of alimony awarded while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. The primary purpose of this type of alimony is to maintain the status quo and to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can manage living expenses during the divorce process.
It’s crucial to note that Pendente Lite Alimony does not serve as a predictor for any future alimony awards. Once the divorce is finalized, the court will make a new determination on alimony based on a comprehensive evaluation of various factors, including each spouse’s financial situation and contributions to the marriage.
Rehabilitative alimony is designed to be a short-term financial solution that helps the receiving spouse become self-sufficient after the divorce. This alimony is commonly awarded when one spouse has sacrificed career opportunities or education for the sake of the marriage or family.
The duration and amount are generally established with a specific goal, such as completing an educational program or gaining necessary work experience. Once the time frame is up or the goals are met, rehabilitative alimony typically ends unless there are compelling reasons for an extension.
Indefinite alimony is awarded less frequently and is generally reserved for situations where the receiving spouse cannot become financially independent due to age, illness, or disability. Another scenario could be when there is an unconscionable disparity in the living standards of the two ex-spouses. Unlike rehabilitative alimony, there is no pre-determined end date for indefinite alimony. Unless the Court terminates, indefinite alimony continues until either the party’s death or the recipient spouse’s remarriage.
However, it’s subject to modification or termination if there’s a significant change in circumstances for either party. It’s essential to consult a family law attorney to explore whether indefinite alimony is a possible outcome in your divorce case.
Determining which type is appropriate depends on various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial needs of both parties and their respective incomes. Consulting a family law attorney can help you better understand what type of alimony may apply to your situation.
How Is Alimony Calculated in Maryland?
In Maryland, there’s no specific formula for calculating alimony. The court considers multiple factors, such as the standard of living during the marriage, the financial contributions of both parties and the needs and resources of each spouse.
Other factors include the ability of the paying spouse to meet his/her needs while supporting the other spouse and any agreements between the parties. Since there are multiple considerations, speaking to a family law attorney can provide valuable insights tailored to your unique circumstances.
Can Men Receive Alimony?
Gender is not a deciding factor in alimony awards in Maryland. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you may be entitled to alimony if you have been financially dependent on your spouse.
Maryland courts focus on the economic disparity between the parties and aim to maintain a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage.
What Happens If My Ex-Spouse Remarries?
In Maryland, alimony payments usually terminate if the spouse receiving alimony remarries. This aligns with the idea that remarriage provides the receiving spouse new financial support.
However, specifics can vary in agreements providing for alimony, and it’s crucial to consult your family law attorney to understand how remarriage may affect your situation.
Can I Modify Alimony Payments?
Yes, alimony payments can be modified in Maryland under certain circumstances. If there has been a “material change” in the financial circumstances of either party, such as job loss or a significant pay increase, the court may adjust the alimony payments.
For such changes to be considered, they must have been unforeseeable when the original alimony award was made. If you find yourself in this situation, it is essential to learn what options you have.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
The duration of alimony depends on the type awarded. Pendente Lite Alimony lasts only until the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative alimony is typically short-term and designed to give the receiving spouse time to gain skills for employment and to become self-supporting. Indefinite alimony may be awarded if one spouse is not reasonably expected to make substantial progress toward becoming financially independent.
The alimony you are awarded may or may not have an expiration date. If you believe there was a mistake or that your alimony should continue, you can seek answers from the court or attorney.
Is Alimony Taxable?
Before 2019, alimony payments were taxable for the recipient and tax-deductible for the payer. However, this is no longer the case for divorce agreements finalized after December 31, 2018.
Now, alimony payments are not deductible for the payer and are tax-free for the recipient. This change in tax laws may affect how much alimony one is willing to pay or receive.
Understanding Alimony in Maryland and Your Rights
Alimony is a complex subject that can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances. To navigate the intricacies of Maryland’s alimony laws, it’s crucial to consult a family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help you make well-informed decisions.
When you contact our law firm, we can provide advice, guidance, and legal representation for your alimony or family law matter. The first step is to contact our office to schedule an appointment.