What you should know about alimony
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Alimony or spousal support is normally awarded in Maryland courts during a divorce where one of the spouses cannot support himself/herself independently after the divorce. Parties can also agree that one party would pay the other party alimony for specific period of time, Unless the parties agree otherwise, Maryland courts may award three different types of alimony:
alimony pendente lite,
rehabilitative alimony, and
Alimony pendente lite or temporary alimony can be awarded in between the filing for divorce and the resolution or trial of the case, in order for the dependent spouse to maintain the status quo until the divorce case is completed. At trial, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for a set period of time (commonly between 3-10 years) in order to assist the recipient spouse in becoming self-sustaining. Indefinite alimony, the rarest form of alimony that may be awarded, is granted to a spouse that is unlikely to ever become self-sustaining (either because of a disability, age, or other reason that prevents an otherwise capable person from supporting themselves).
Regardless of which type of alimony the Court awards in your case, if alimony is awarded at all, parties may seek to modify an alimony obligation at a later date upon showing of a material change in circumstance. The Court may modify an alimony obligation for a variety of reasons, such as:
loss or substantial decrease in income;
a subsequent injury, disease, or disability that prevents someone from working;
or other event that materially impacts one or both party’s financial circumstances.
If you and your spouse have reached an agreement regarding alimony, that agreement can also include the conditions under which the Court could allow a modification of alimony. You may also agree that the alimony obligation is not modifiable by any Court at any time. It is important to note, however, that a termination of alimony is not the same as a modification of alimony. In Maryland, unless the parties agree otherwise, alimony terminates upon death of either party, remarriage of the recipient, or if the Court finds that termination is necessary to avoid a “harsh and inequitable result.”
An experienced Maryland attorney is able to navigate you through your request to modify an alimony obligation – we are here to help. Should you wish to explore your options for a modification of alimony, please call the office of Spencer & Stahl, P.C. to schedule an appointment.
Post written by Tyler Brown