Divorce can be a complex and emotional process. A concern for many individuals is the question of alimony payments.
What are they? Who gets them? How is it determined?
As a leading divorce attorney in Maryland, our experienced divorce attorneys at Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet aim to clarify alimony’s intricacies. If you believe you should receive payments or have been ordered to pay too much, we can help.
Contact our office to discuss your situation or learn about alimony payments and the law here.
History and Purpose of Alimony
Alimony dates back to times when one spouse predominantly supported the household. In Maryland, alimony has evolved to ensure that spouses aren’t left financially disadvantaged after divorce.
Its main goal is to balance economic disparities and ensure a fair transition for both parties.
Types of Alimony in Maryland
Understanding the different types of alimony is essential for couples filing for divorce. Alimony payments ensure that both parties maintain a semblance of the financial standard they enjoyed during their marriage.
The types of alimony that can be awarded include:
This is awarded while the divorce process is still ongoing. It serves as a financial bridge, ensuring the lower-earning spouse maintains his/her current lifestyle until the final divorce decree. The aim is to stabilize the financial environment during what is often a tumultuous period.
Not all spouses enter or leave a marriage with equal earning capacities. Rehabilitative alimony allows a spouse who may have been out of the workforce or underemployed the time and resources to become self-sufficient.
This may involve gaining additional education, training, or certifications. The duration of these alimony payments is generally set with a clear goal or timeframe in mind. For instance, it may be awarded until the receiving spouse completes a specific degree or certification.
In some cases, due to age, health, or significant income disparities, one spouse may not be able to achieve a standard of living even remotely close to what he/she was accustomed to during the marriage.
Here, indefinite alimony steps in. It doesn’t necessarily mean “forever,” but it doesn’t have a fixed end date either. It continues until either party’s death or the recipient’s remarriage.
Factors Considered in Alimony Determination
Several things are considered when determining if alimony should be awarded in a divorce. These factors include:
A detailed analysis of both parties’ finances is at the forefront of alimony decisions. This evaluation includes understanding individual incomes, any inheritances, liquid and tangible assets, liabilities, and potential future earnings.
For example, if one spouse is a high earner with significant assets, while the other sacrificed a career to manage home responsibilities, these facts may influence the alimony amount.
Standard of Living During the Marriage
The courts also examine the lifestyle the couple maintained while married. Were they accustomed to luxury vacations and high-end living, or was their lifestyle more modest? This benchmark helps ensure that, post-divorce, neither party experiences a dramatic and unjustified change in his/her standard of living.
Duration of the Marriage
A marriage’s longevity can significantly influence alimony. Typically, longer marriages see higher alimony considerations because they often involve more profound financial and emotional intertwining. Short-term marriages may not result in an alimony award or may only lead to minimal support.
Contributions to the Family
Monetary contributions are undoubtedly significant, but non-financial contributions are equally vital. Did one spouse stay home to raise children, foregoing career advancements? Or perhaps one spouse supported the other through higher education, expecting a shared future benefit. Such sacrifices and contributions weigh heavily in alimony determinations.
Reason for Divorce
The reasons for divorce may also impact alimony. One party’s infidelity or abuse may influence the court’s decision.
Age and Physical Condition
An older spouse may receive more favorable alimony considerations, especially those in poor health or with diminished earning capabilities. The courts recognize that reentering the workforce or achieving financial stability may be significantly challenging based on these factors.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, if in place, are crucial. These legal documents may already outline alimony arrangements, and courts uphold these agreements unless proven to be egregiously unfair or were entered under duress.
How to Improve Your Chances of Receiving Alimony
Alimony can be essential financial support following a divorce, especially for spouses who may have been financially dependent during the marriage. While the courts consider various factors in alimony determinations, there are proactive measures individuals can take to improve the likelihood of having it awarded.
Some tips include:
- Engage Legal Representation: One cannot stress enough the value of having a seasoned divorce attorney in Maryland by your side. They bring legal expertise and an understanding of the nuances that can influence a court’s decision. A skilled attorney will be able to present your case compellingly, emphasizing the key aspects that matter most in alimony considerations.
- Thorough Documentation: The more evidence you can provide, the better. Accumulate records showcasing your financial needs and contributions to the marriage, both financial and non-financial. This could include bank statements, bills, and evidence of your roles, like caregiving or supporting a spouse’s career or education.
- Opt for Collaborative Approaches: When possible, consider collaborative divorce or mediation. These methods often lead to more amicable agreements. When both parties can come to mutual terms outside of court, there’s often a higher chance of arriving at a satisfactory alimony arrangement.
Pursuing alimony may seem complex, but an experienced divorce attorney can help explain the law and how it applies to your situation.
Understanding Your Rights to Alimony
Understanding alimony is crucial during a divorce. With knowledge comes empowerment. Trust the experienced divorce attorneys in Maryland at Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet for personalized advice tailored to your circumstances.
Our attorneys can review your case and help you understand the most likely outcome. We can also provide resources, guidance, and representation throughout the divorce process.