An Introduction to Alimony
The complicated process of divorce can become more difficult when it comes to determining alimony. Different from child support, alimony has no specific calculated method or guidelines in deciding on the amount and type. There are three types of alimony in Maryland: pendente lite, rehabilitative and indefinite.
The phrase pendente lite means “pending litigation.” It is temporary alimony given to the requesting party in the early stages of the divorce proceeding while the case is pending. This type of alimony is usually decided during a pendente lite hearing where the court considers the reasonable needs of the spouse requesting the alimony and the financial state of the other spouse to provide the support. This type of alimony is intended to maintain the financial stability of the requesting spouse while awaiting the outcome of litigation.
The most common type of alimony, and most preferred in Maryland, is rehabilitative alimony. It is awarded to a spouse for a set period of time. It is meant to provide the receiving spouse time and resources for a specified period until they can become self-supporting.
Unlike the other types of alimony, indefinite alimony does not have limited duration. This is often intended for divorces after long-term marriages, when one spouse is unable to be self-supporting due to age or poor health, when the requesting spouse was mostly unemployed or underemployed during the marriage, or when the usual lifestyles of one spouse will be unreasonably disproportionate than the other without an indefinite alimony award.
In formulating how much alimony should be awarded, the Court refers to various statutory factors, some of which are listed below:
- The ability of the party seeking alimony to be self-supporting
- The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to become self-supporting
- The standard of living that the parties established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to pay alimony while still supporting himself or herself
It is important to note that there is no specific guideline for alimony, the determination is based on the statute and case-law and that the court will review the facts of each case and apply them to the statutory factors. Additionally, some advocacy groups have created alimony guidelines based off of the statues and case law, however Maryland courts are not bound by these guidelines, yet may consider them in making an alimony determination.
The various factors involved in alimony can make it a stressful and complicated process. If you have questions about alimony or for more information on alimony, contact the attorneys at Rodier Family Law.
The statements provided above are not legal advice and all specific questions should be directed to a licensed Maryland attorney.