Alimony in Maryland Divorce Cases

Alimony, or spousal support as it is sometimes called in other jurisdictions, is a payment made from one spouse to another following the granting of an absolute or limited divorce in the state of Maryland.

Much like child support, alimony is not designed to punish one spouse or give the other spouse a financial windfall, but to provide financial maintenance and support to the lower-income spouse, so he or she has a chance to get back on his or her feet, go to school or vocational training, find suitable employment, or otherwise reestablish himself or herself.  It should be noted that alimony can be paid as single lump sum payment, paid over time, a combination of both payments over time and an initial lump sum, or be a grant of real or personal property in lieu of alimony during the property distribution phase of a Maryland divorce.   It should also be noted that, if the parties can come to an agreement as to alimony, and that agreement can even include both parties choosing to forego any claims to alimony, the court will most likely follow the parties’ wishes.

Types of Alimony in Maryland

If the parties cannot agree on if and how much alimony should be paid by one spouse to another, the court will hold a trial and make such determination based upon the evidence and fashion an alimony or award order when appropriate.

In order to make a determination as to alimony in a Montgomery County divorce case, the court will examine some of the following factors, as outlined in the Maryland Code of laws.  The first thing the judge must consider is what type of alimony is involved in the instant case.

  • Temporary alimony, which is sometimes referred to as pendente lite alimony in a Maryland divorce case, is a type of alimony that is designed to provide support to the requesting spouse during the pendency of the case. Once the case is over, the temporary order will no longer be valid.
  • Rehabilitative alimony – This type of alimony begins when a divorce case is finalized by the issuance of an absolute divorce. This alimony award is not permanent and is designed to give the payee spouse enough time to get back on his or her feet.
  • Indefinite alimony – This is essentially a permanent alimony award that will last an indefinite amount of time. However, it will generally terminate upon remarriage of the payee spouse.

Once the type of alimony has been determined, the judge will use a variety factors to determine the appropriate amount of support, including the length of the marriage, the age of the parties, the physical and mental health of the parties, the income of each party to the marriage, the reasons for the marriage ending (abuse, cruelty, abandonment, etc.), and a variety of other factors deemed to be in the interest of justice.

The family law attorneys at DiPietro & Wise, LLC have years of experience handling domestic relations cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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