What is Alimony?
Also known as spousal support, alimony is money paid by one spouse to ensure the other is able to meet their financial needs after divorce. It may be awarded to either spouse in a Maryland divorce, and can help a stay-at-home parent or dependent partner find their financial footing as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.
Your Alimony Advocates
During a divorce, safeguarding your financial future is a top priority on which alimony can have a meaningful impact. 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.
There are three types of alimony as dictated by 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.
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.
Alimony 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 to advocate for a fair total (and duration) of alimony based on your unique situation.
Your Alimony Questions, Answered:
How long does alimony 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.
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Finding the Right Alimony Attorney for You
As you navigate this challenging time, a trusted legal team who can 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 vast legal experience, our tenured team can design a tailored strategy to help you take back your power and build the new beginning you deserve.