What Factors Go Into Establishing Spousal Support?

Divorce can be a trying time for any couple, and when finances are at issue the situation can become increasingly taxing. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, occurs when one party supports the other party based on a court-ordered decision or an agreement between the parties. Here, the family law and divorce attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss the factors that go into establishing spousal support and considerations when allocating the amount given.

The Financial Stability of Each Ex-Spouse 

One of the primary considerations in establishing spousal support is both the current and future earning potential of each party. Considerations of financial responsibility for each ex-spouse include the evaluation of income, assets and financial resources and can factor into determining how much spousal support one party will receive. In addition, judges tend to consider the annual incomes of each ex-spouse, as well as discretionary savings, such as for retirement or investments.

The Mental and Physical Health of Each Ex-Spouse 

In addition to financial considerations, other factors that impact alimony are the age, physical health and mental health of both parties. If one party has significant health issues, it may be more difficult for them to find future employment and maintain a steady income to be fully self-supporting. Mental health issues can also interfere with a party’s ability to maintain a steady income or career and untreated mental health issues are common issues in a divorce. Lastly, age can be a factor in determining alimony if one party’s age affects their income or earning potential.

The Duration of Spousal Support 

Spousal support can be awarded in three forms: temporary, rehabilitative, or permanent. Temporary alimony is awarded while a case is pending prior to divorce. Rehabilitative or permanent alimony are awarded at the conclusion of a divorce case or as part of a marital settlement agreement. Alimony can also be modifiable or non-modifiable in amount and/or duration. Alimony may only be modified by a judge if the alimony was court-ordered or the parties agreed for the alimony to be modifiable in their marital settlement agreement and the moving party can show that one or both parties’ financial circumstances have changed. The length of spousal support may continue until one ex-spouse passes away or if the recipient ex-spouse remarries. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a set period of time to allow the financially dependent spouse time and resources to become financially independent. 

The duration and amount of alimony varies on a case-by-case basis in Maryland. In Maryland, there are no alimony guidelines, like there are for child support, only factors that the judge must consider. Therefore, there is no guarantee as to what award, if any, of alimony you will receive in a case so it is important to be prepared when you go into court or are negotiating a settlement.

Discuss Your Options With a Divorce and Separation Attorney at Rodier Family Law 

When going through a divorce, there are a myriad of aspects that must be considered for both parties when establishing spousal support. Finances can be a delicate subject, especially in the midst of a divorce where tensions are high and stress is almost constant. The divorce and family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law are dedicated to ensuring that you are properly compensated during and after your divorce proceedings and that the needs of you and your family are adequately met. To discuss your options and considerations for spousal support, contact the Bel Air attorneys at Rodier Family Law today.