Separation from a spouse is a challenging time, not only in terms of the familial ties involved but also due to the time, effort, and money spent throughout the process. Once the separation or divorce has been completed, a court may order one partner to pay alimony to the other.
Alimony, which is sometimes called spousal support or maintenance, is the practice of fulfilling mandatory financial support from the payor to the payee so that the payee can continue to support themselves after separation.
However, some circumstances allow for the payor to terminate alimony payments. Here are the most common scenarios that enable men to terminate alimony payments in Maryland.
Is It Possible to Terminate Alimony Payments in Maryland?
In short—yes, some situations exist in which alimony payments can be terminated, either through a written agreement or via the court system. However, specific criteria must be met, and in the majority of cases, the cessation of alimony will need to be reviewed by the court.
It is helpful to consult with a legal professional to ensure termination is done properly; otherwise, alimony payments could be considered past due, even if both parties seemed to agree on new terms. There are three primary means by which men can terminate alimony payments in Maryland. They are:
The Payee Chooses to Stop Alimony Payments
The least common avenue through which alimony payments are terminated is when the payee elects to stop receiving alimony from the payor. If a wife receives alimony checks from her divorced husband, she can agree that she is financially secure and no longer needs them. Then, she can submit a request to cease alimony payments.
This avenue may be seen in relationships that have separated amicably and in which one party does not wish to impose undue pressure on the other. In cases where the payor has become disabled or lost their job and alimony payments would threaten their financial security, the payee may request termination of the alimony agreement.
This agreement can be made via a contract drafted by both parties, but it is wise to consult with a legal professional to navigate this process. Failure to properly structure a termination of an alimony agreement can result in unexpected outcomes, such as overdue alimony payments.
The Payee Remarries
More commonly, alimony is terminated when the person receiving the payments remarries. They now have an additional person’s income by which to support themselves, and so the court will agree to have the former spouse cease their alimony payments.
In Maryland, this process is automatic—as soon as the payee spouse remarries, alimony is terminated immediately. If the payor spouse who is providing the financial support remarries, their obligation to pay alimony is not terminated.
In some circumstances, if both parties are in agreement, they can draft a contract to continue alimony payments after the payee remarries, though this is rare.
One or Both Parties Pass Away
Alimony is tied to the involved parties who separated. Thus, if either the payee or payor (or both) passes away, the mandate for alimony ends. Families, spouses, or children are not responsible for continuing to pay alimony for a payor who has passed away, and a payee’s children and family will no longer receive alimony if the payee has died.
The mandate for financial support after separation does not transfer to the estate and is terminated upon one of the involved parties passing.
How Long Does Alimony Last in Maryland?
How long a payor will need to provide the payee with financial support depends upon the terms set by the court. Alimony does not necessarily last for a lifetime, though permanent spousal support does exist.
Some judges will set an alimony limit based on the total amount paid (which allows the payor to make a large lump sum payment and then conclude their alimony responsibility), or they may mandate a set number of years or payments.
Many judges apply the percentage rule, which indicates that the payor should provide alimony for anywhere from 15% to 60% of the duration of the marriage.
Thus, parties who were married longer will pay alimony for longer. These calculations vary by state, as do the terms for when alimony payments can be terminated.
Get Legal Help Terminating Alimony in Maryland
Alimony creates a substantial financial impact on both parties’ incomes, and men often wonder if it is possible to terminate their alimony requirements. Under specific circumstances, terminating alimony payments is possible in Maryland, but it is best done with the guidance of a legal professional.
The attorneys at SIEGELLAW focus on family law issues, including alimony, to help clients navigate this challenging time. Contact us to discuss your situation or schedule a consultation to begin the process.