If you are going through a divorce in Maryland or considering the possibility, it is important to understand how alimony works. Alimony is the process whereby one spouse is ordered to pay money to the other spouse after a divorce. Alimony in Maryland is gender-neutral, meaning that both men and women have the right to receive or be ordered to pay alimony, depending on the case circumstances.
This blog post explores what men need to know about alimony in Maryland.
Factors Considered in Determining Alimony
In Maryland, alimony is a remedy determined and ordered by the court after it analyzes all the facts of the case; it is not a right. When deciding whether alimony is just, a court considers several factors, including:
- The age and health of each spouse: If an individual’s age or health makes them less employable or otherwise less likely to be able to support themselves, they are more likely to be granted alimony to maintain their financial well-being.
- The job skills, education, and employment status of each spouse: If you are employed and your ex-spouse is not, a judge would likely order you to pay alimony to your ex-spouse.
- How child custody has been allocated: Alimony is more likely to be granted to the spouse who has been also granted primary custody of the children.
- The division of property: The more equitable the division of property pursuant to the divorce, the less likely alimony will be considered a reasonable need.
- The existence of any marital agreement regarding alimony: In Maryland, the parties to a divorce can agree to any alimony arrangement they wish, and if the parties have signed such an agreement, the court may be bound by it.
- Other Factors: The length of the marriage, the need for alimony versus the ability to pay alimony, the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, and other factors will also be considered.
Types of Alimony in Maryland
In Maryland, three main types of alimony may be awarded in a divorce, depending on the circumstances:
- Rehabilitative: This type of alimony is often awarded to a spouse for a limited time while they obtain the education or training needed to return to the job market and become self-supporting.
- Indefinite: Also referred to as permanent alimony, this type of alimony is awarded to a spouse who, because of age, disability, or other factors, cannot become self-supporting.
- Pendente Lite Alimony: This is temporary alimony awarded for the duration of the divorce proceeding and until the court determines a final order to pay alimony.
The Role of Gender in Alimony Determinations
Regarding alimony, Maryland courts do not discriminate based on gender. Divorcing men and women have an equal opportunity to receive alimony or to be obligated to pay alimony. In fact, there has been a significant rise in the number of women paying alimony to their ex-husbands.
When determining alimony, Maryland courts are guided by the principles of fairness and will consider each request for alimony on its merits. Perhaps the two most heavily weighted factors when determining alimony are the recipient’s need and the payer’s ability to pay, regardless of gender.
Modifying Alimony in Maryland
Unless a marital agreement says otherwise, alimony in Maryland can be modified by a court if an ex-spouse can show a material change in circumstances, such as an injury or a change in employment.
For example, let’s say you are paying your ex-wife, who currently has a minimum wage job, $20,000 annually in modifiable alimony. Then, in the second year after your divorce, your ex-wife finds a job that pays her $55,000 annually. Due to this change in circumstances, you may be able to have the amount of alimony you pay reduced.
Macro changes, such as inflation or a recession, might also be grounds for modifying an order to pay alimony. If you are seeking a modification of an order to pay alimony, it is important to consult an experienced Maryland family law attorney to determine if it is possible.
Death, Remarriage, and Cohabitation
Alimony in Maryland typically ends upon the death of either the recipient or the paying spouse. Furthermore, unless a marital agreement says otherwise, alimony ends when the recipient remarries. Moreover, if the recipient begins cohabitating with someone else, this can be grounds for modifying or terminating an order to pay alimony.
Seek the Assistance of an Experienced Maryland Family Law Attorney
Alimony in Maryland is a discretionary decision, and judges will consider various factors before issuing an order to pay alimony. Understanding these factors and how alimony works is important for divorcing men and women in Maryland.
A Maryland family law attorney can help you understand your rights and answer any questions. Also, working with an experienced family law attorney will increase your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact a Knowledgeable Maryland Family Law Attorney at SIEGELLAW Today
To consult with a knowledgeable Maryland family law attorney who can help you protect your rights and interests, contact SIEGELLAW at (443) 230-4674 or request a consultation online today. We have been providing clients in Maryland with solutions to challenging family law matters for over 20 years.