Alimony in Maryland can be awarded to either party during the course of a divorce. It does not matter whether the divorce is a limited divorce, an absolute divorce, or an annulment proceeding. Understanding the standards by which the court makes alimony determinations—and hiring an experienced, dedicated Maryland divorce lawyer—can make this confusing process more clear.
Requesting Alimony In Maryland
During the divorce process, alimony in Maryland must be pled in a complaint for divorce, a counter-complaint for divorce, or any further amended complaints. Once alimony is requested from either party, the court is required to determine the amount and the period for an award. Unlike child support, alimony in Maryland is not statutory. Rather, an award of alimony is based on a set of factors laid out by the statute in MD Family Law Code 11-106 (b).
How Courts Set Alimony Amounts
Alimony can be either rehabilitative or permanent. In more cases, alimony is awarded for a set period of time to allow the party seeking alimony to start successfully supporting themselves. The court will weigh a variety of factors in this decision, including:
- The party’s ability to become self-sufficient
- The party’s educational level
- The party’s need for additional training
- The standard of living of all parties involved
- The duration of the marriage
The court also examines a few other factors while determining the amount and duration of alimony, such as:
- The contributions that each party has made to the marriage, both monetarily and non-monetarily
- The age of each party
- The physical and mental condition of each party.
The court can award permanent alimony to a party if it determines that they are not reasonably able to become self-supporting because of their age or an illness or disability.
Alimony agreements can be addressed in a Marital Separation Agreement, and merged but not incorporated into a Judgment of Absolute Divorce. If the court determines alimony, then the parties are bound by the court’s determinations unless they choose to appeal them. Alimony in Maryland is not typically modifiable. If not permanent, it applies for a fixed period of time.
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If neither party wants to receive alimony, it can be waived. Unlike child support, neither party who has waived alimony can return to court to reverse their decision after the conclusion of the case. Once alimony has been awarded, the party paying the alimony can either pay the other party directly or through the court. If they choose the latter option, the court files an Earnings Withholding Order with the party’s employer and the alimony is simply garnished from their wages.
Contact Our Team
Since alimony in Maryland is a complicated determination, based on many factors, it is important to find an attorney who is knowledgeable in these matters. The divorce attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law have decades of expertise negotiating alimony and finding solutions for all parties involved. If you believe you should receive alimony as part of your family law case, please call our office at 410-753-4611 to set up a consultation.