You may wonder if you will be given any spousal assistance post-divorce if you consider serving divorce papers in Maryland. Divorce can be expensive, and one spouse often becomes the marriage’s primary breadwinner. If not, or if you are concerned about a spouse who makes less than you, you might be interested in learning more about Maryland’s spousal support laws.
Before looking into Maryland’s specific guidelines on granting spousal or alimony payments, it’s essential to know what precisely spousal assistance is.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support, or alimony, refers to any financial or monetary support given to one spouse to another following a divorce. Usually, this sort of financial assistance is offered when the spouse receiving the aid cannot support themselves without their ex-spouse’s financial support. It is often meant to contribute to the maintenance and education of children in the care of one or both spouses.
There are several factors that Maryland courts consider when determining whether or not to award spousal support. For example, In order to make its decision, the court will consider a variety of issues. How much support will one ex-spouse have to pay the other? These include the marriage’s length, the spouses’ age, educational degrees earned, and many more factors.
In Maryland, Is a Spouse Entitled to Spousal Support?
There is a short and long answer to this question, as with any other part of the divorce process. Unfortunately, the short answer to the question above is not necessary. In Maryland, spousal support will depend on several factors, as in most states.
To answer this question fully, we must dig deeper into the purpose of alimony, its different types, and the court’s decision process. If you are happy with the short answer, you can stop here. If you are curious about what factors are considered when determining whether or not alimony may be awarded, read on.
What Is the Purpose of Alimony?
In short, the purpose of alimony or spousal support is to help the recipient spouse to become self-supporting. In a marriage, one independent spouse and one dependent spouse. It may be difficult for the dependent spouse to sustain themselves and any children they may need to look after if a marriage like this gets divorced.
This is why most alimony is awarded for a limited time, to help the lower-earning spouse “rehabilitate” themselves. During this period, the dependent ex-spouse is expected to work on becoming self-supporting and financially independent.
However, what is rehabilitative alimony, and is it the only type of alimony? To answer this second question, no, rehabilitative alimony is not the only type of alimony. There are three types of alimony. Before moving on to how alimony is awarded, it is crucial to understand the three types of alimony.
What Are the Different Types of Alimony?
As mentioned, there are three types of alimony or spousal support. Each type of spousal support can be awarded for various reasons, and each has its own particular rules and regulations.
The most typical form of alimony awarded in divorces in the United States is rehabilitative alimony. The rarest kind of alimony to be awarded is indefinite alimony.
Alimony Pendente Lite
This is a type of spousal support that is temporary and only lasts until the divorce is finalized. It is intended to assist you in keeping things the same throughout the divorce but is not a guarantee that alimony will be granted following the divorce.
The second type of alimony is rehabilitative alimony. As we mentioned earlier, rehabilitative alimony is the type of alimony that is most likely to be awarded. This is because it is usually given with a time-bound objective, such as returning to school. A spouse may receive rehabilitative alimony if they need financial support to return to school and become independent.
Rehabilitative alimony is not always awarded in divorces; the amount of money you get from it depends on your circumstances.
The last type of alimony is called indefinite alimony. This type of alimony is relatively intuitive as it is alimony that is given with no set end date. This type of alimony is quite rare, but it can be provided in certain circumstances.
One instance where indefinite alimony may be awarded is if you are incapable of making substantial progress toward supporting yourself. This incompetence to make reasonable progress toward financial independence could be due to your age, an illness, or a disability.
If your ex-spouse’s standard of living is “obviously different” from your own, you may be awarded indefinite alimony. Essentially, this means there is an unfair and considerable difference between your and your ex-spouse’s standard of living.
How Does the Court Decide Whether or Not to Award Spousal Support?
The court will determine whether alimony should be awarded or not on a particular circumstance basis. Consequently, no decision you can access will tell you whether or not you or your spouse will receive spousal assistance after the divorce is complete.
Several factors will determine whether or not you will be granted spousal support. The court must take into consideration some more prominent factors, such as:
- Length of the marriage
- Child custody and child support situations
- The financial situation during the marriage
- Age, physical condition, and mental state of each party
- Reason for the divorce
There are many other factors that the court must also consider in family law cases, as explored below:
More Factors the Court Will Consider When Awarding Alimony
To guarantee a just and equitable award of spousal support, the court will consider the following factors. These factors include (but are not limited to):
- The self-supporting party sought to meet alimony
- The time needed by the party seeking alimony to become self-supporting
- The level of life decided upon throughout the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether the case is an at-fault divorce.
- The contributions of both parties to the well-being of the family as a whole
- The reason for the estrangement of the relationship
- If/when legal separation began
- The age of both parties
- Marital property in the relationship
- The physical and mental conditions of both parties
- The type of divorce
- Domestic violence in the relationship
- Any agreements made between both parties
- The ability of the paying spouse to provide alimony to suit both parties needs.
- The financial resources and needs of both parties
- All earnings and possessions (including property that does not produce income)
- Financial rewards for real estate
- The parties’ joint financial responsibilities
- The rights of each party to receive retirement benefits
- Would paying or receiving alimony make either spouse eligible for medical assistance sooner than they would be otherwise
The court is not required to follow any particular or formal checklist when determining whether or not to award spousal support. The court must consider all necessary factors, including other elements besides the ones listed above.
How Much Alimony Will the Court Award?
Unfortunately, there is no simple response to this query. The amount of alimony awarded, if any, will depend on the situation’s specifics. The facts will guide the court’s decision that they are presented with how much alimony should be awarded. The court will consider various factors when deciding how much alimony to award a spouse after a divorce.
What Are the Rules on the Termination of Alimony in Maryland?
The general rule for the termination of alimony is as follows. Alimony ends on:
- The death of either party,
- The recipient’s marriage, or
- If the court deems the termination of the alimony necessary to maintain fairness.
In other words, alimony can be terminated for three reasons and is often not awarded permanently.
In the case of divorce, it is complicated to determine if you or your husband will receive alimony on your own. If you are concerned about spousal support, you may want to talk to a professional and experienced divorce lawyer. The Divorce With A Plan lawyers can help you with Maryland’s spousal support laws and figure out where you stand.
Spousal support is often the most highly contested topic in a divorce. If you want to navigate this issue as seamlessly as possible, You will require the assistance of an accomplished lawyer. You can contact us today at Divorce With A Plan to get started on your divorce plan.