Alimony, or spousal support, is a commonly misunderstood concept in Maryland divorce. Alimony is never guaranteed, and when it is granted, there are many factors that go into deciding when it is appropriate, how much should be paid, for how long and which spouse will pay.
In Maryland, spouses who are divorcing can come to an agreement about how much alimony one will pay the other after the divorce. In cases where the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make the decisions about alimony, and there are several factors that go into making this challenging decision.
What is alimony for?
The purpose of alimony is to attempt to correct an economic imbalance when a couple divorces. It can be difficult for a spouse who is used to enjoying a certain lifestyle or standard of living, to be thrust into a situation where they will be forced to struggle to survive. In the days where one spouse was the “breadwinner” and the other focused on housekeeping and childrearing, the spouse that was focused on taking care of the home and family might be left in a difficult situation if they were not able to rely on alimony to cover their expenses while they look for a job or pursue the training they would need to get a job. Now, most married couples both have jobs and both contribute financially and otherwise to the marriage.
Factors that the court might consider when deciding alimony include:
- The ability of the party seeking alimony to support themselves
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical, psychological and general health of the parties
- The financial needs and resources of each party
- Whether awarding alimony might create a hardship for the paying spouse
- Other factors
While alimony is not a punitive measure, the court will also look at what caused the breakup of the marriage when considering whether and how much alimony should be awarded.
As stated hereinabove, the duration of the marriage is also a vital factor in deciding whether alimony is appropriate and how much to grant. For example, a marriage that lasted for about three years, where both parties worked and earned similar income and had no minor children, the court might not consider spousal support to be appropriate, but in the case where a couple was married for 30 years, one spouse worked while the other raised children and the spouse who raised the children never had a substantial career before the marriage, the court may grant spousal support to make sure that the non-earning spouse is able to take care of themselves financially.
When you are dealing with divorce, wondering how you will get by on your single income, and concerned about who will get the home you purchased together, a skilled Maryland divorce attorney form the law firm of Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC is here to guide you through the complex path of divorce and make sure that whether you are paying or receiving spousal support, you will be treated fairly.
Deciding alimony and calculating how much and what type is appropriate is a complicated area of family law in Maryland. At Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC we are a team of experienced Maryland divorce attorneys who are here to protect your interests in divorce whether you will be paying or receiving spousal support after divorce. Please give us a call at 410.921.2422 or fill out our contact form and schedule a case review today.