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What is Alimony?

Alimony in Maryland is a form of court-ordered financial support for a former spouse. It's based on the idea that both spouses should be financially independent after a divorce. Alimony is intended to provide the former spouse with financial assistance and stability during the transition from married to single life.

In Maryland, alimony is a form of Maryland spousal support and is governed by Maryland statutes. Alimony can be awarded in a variety of situations and is generally designed to provide the dependent spouse with a reasonable standard of living. The court has discretion in determining the amount and duration of alimony, and the amount may be modified based on a substantial change of circumstances.



Your Alimony Advocate

During a divorce, safeguarding your financial future is a top priority on which alimony can have a meaningful impact. An alimony advocate is a person who works on behalf of the receiving spouse to ensure they receive the appropriate amount of alimony. This person can help negotiate an alimony agreement, provide guidance and advice on how to best pursue alimony in Maryland, and represent the receiving spouse in court if necessary. Whether you’re concerned about paying or receiving alimony, at Z Family Law, we’re here to help you understand how Maryland alimony law applies to your case and advocate for your financial interests both during and after divorce.

Your Alimony Advocates

The Three Types of Alimony Under Maryland Law

Pendente lite alimony

Alimony awarded on a temporary basis after a divorce is filed (but not yet final) to maintain the financial “status quo” of both parties while the case is pending.

Rehabilitative alimony

Alimony awarded for a set period of time after the divorce is final to provide support while the receiving spouse completes education, obtains certifications, or reenters the workforce.

Indefinite alimony

This type of Maryland spousal support is awarded on an ongoing basis after the divorce is final to provide for a spouse who is unable to support themselves because of their health, age, or work history until the receiving party passes away or remarries.

Calculating Alimony In Maryland Divorce Cases

There is no one-size-fits-all formula that applies to every case. Instead, a court’s decision about whether to award alimony is influenced by subjective factors that include:

  • The receiving party’s ability to support themselves
  • The time necessary to complete training or education for a spouse to become self-supporting
  • Each party’s monetary and non-monetary contributions to the family’s well-being during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The root cause of the breakdown in the marriage
  • Each party’s age
  • Each party’s mental and physical health
  • The paying party’s ability to pay and support themself
  • Any existing agreement between the parties
  • The financial needs and resources of the parties involved.

As you can see, many of these factors leave a lot to the court’s interpretation. If your divorce goes to trial, your attorney will need to present evidence related to each relevant factor and advocate for a fair total (and duration) of alimony based on your unique situation.

Alimony FAQs

How long does alimony in Maryland last?

The duration entirely depends on the type of alimony being paid, but in general, payments cease if either person dies, if the recipient remarries, or if continuing to make payments would lead to serious consequences for the paying party.


What if a spouse fails to meet an alimony obligation?

Depending on the reason behind a spouse’s failure to pay, the court has an array of options — from adjusting the alimony agreement if the terms have become onerous, to the compulsory sale of property, and even charging the spouse in question with contempt of court, which can lead to jail time in some extreme cases.


Is the alimony payment I receive considered taxable income?

No. Alimony is not subject to federal taxation by the recipient.


How does the mental condition of each party play into spousal support?

When it comes to spousal support in Maryland, the mental condition of each party involved is a major factor in determining if support is awarded as well as the amount of support granted. This is because the court views the mental condition of each party as a factor when making decisions regarding the financial support of one spouse by another.


More alimony questions on your mind? Our team is just a few clicks away.

Consequences for Not Paying Alimony in Maryland

Depending on the reason behind a spouse’s failure to pay alimony, the court can take several actions. These actions include garnishing the spouse’s wages, seizing their assets, and even holding them in contempt of court.

  • Garnishment of Wages: If a spouse fails to pay alimony, the court can issue a garnishment order. This order requires the spouse’s employer to withhold a portion of their wages and pay it directly to the court. The amount of the garnishment depends on the amount of alimony that's owed. The garnishment order will remain in effect until the entire amount of alimony is paid in full.
  • Seizure of Assets: If a spouse fails to pay alimony, the court can order the seizure of their assets. This includes any property or other assets that the spouse owns. The court can sell the assets and use the proceeds to cover the alimony payments.
  • Contempt of Court: If a spouse fails to pay alimony in Maryland, the court can hold them in contempt. This is a serious offense that can result in fines, jail time, and other penalties.

Finding the Right Alimony Attorney for You

As you navigate this challenging time, having a trusted legal team that can offer legal advice to help you make rational, well-guided decisions is essential. After all, when it comes to writing your new happily ever after, the importance of finding strategic and compassionate counsel focused solely on family law cannot be understated. By combining our family law lawyers' vast legal experience, our tenured team can design a tailored strategy to help you regain your power and build the new beginning you deserve.

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