The Laws of Alimony in Maryland
I guess that can be a shining light to a party dealing with a divorce, especially an unwanted divorce: it’s called “alimony.” Also known as spousal support, this is a form of supplemental financial support typically awarded to a party holding physical custody of children (but not always). Think of it as free money from the other party!
But every divorce is not created equal. Alimony in MD follows a much more unique formula than, say, child support, which can be the iron hand and will of the divorce law when you consider things like ‘wage garnishment’ and ‘liens,’ mechanisms generally utilized to enforce child support payments.
To make it even more complex, alimony in Maryland is determined a lot differently as well.
The Bases for Alimony in MD
It gets tricky here. It’s not as simple as “both husband and wife divorce, husband or wife was the bread winner, and the other spouse will suffer financially, therefore must be awarded spousal support for a specific amount of money.” Even that circumstance would seem to suggest a need for alimony – but that’s not necessarily the case.
Here are the common factors as outlined by the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act:
• The Age, Physicality, Emotional Health, and Finances of Spouses
• Time Length to Receive Training or Education for Self-Sufficiency
• Standard of Living
• Length of Marriage
• Whether or Not the Alimony Payer Can Support Both the Payee and Himself/Herself
This Should Tell Anyone Something About Alimony in Maryland
There’s no telling whether or not a family court will order alimony payments! It’s anyone’s ballgame, basically.
You see, it’s not as simple as child support, as who will pay it is simply determined by who doesn’t have physical custody of the children. The court will consider all these factors, including these as well for certain unique situations:
• Earning Capacity
• Earning Impairments
• Children in Home
• Tax Consequences
• Prenuptial Agreements
Frankly, that’s a lot to consider – but it’s necessary given the idea behind “spousal support” is the requirement that a spouse – especially a spouse seeking the divorce – must then have to make payments for the other spouse to live comfortably!
But it’s all about fairness. It’s generally unfair for one spouse to suffer financially due to a divorce. Hence the reason for alimony in MD.
Obviously, if one spouse doesn’t have the means to find a job that pays well, support to either put the spouse through school or receive some sort of training would make a ton of sense. In addition, impairments such as disabilities might impede a spouse from working a decent job, which would otherwise not be needed when married to someone already established as an income provider. Case in point: a stay-at-home mom, for example. Furthermore, taking care of the children can get kind of costly, especially when one spouse is out of the picture. Typically, child support would serve that need unless the parent with custodial rights, well, doesn’t have a job! Then spousal support is necessary.
Any of the other factors described here can be considered easily, for obvious reasons.
Again, Though, There’s No Formula Needed for Spousal Support
Maryland does it on a case-by-case basis. And the Divorce and Separation form is the only form necessary to determine it.
I guess if you’re a spouse facing divorce – either as Petitioner or Respondent – the only thing you can do to figure out if you deserve alimony is to consider these factors and let the court decide!