In Maryland, divorce laws allow the court to award alimony for the purpose of maintaining a standard of living that is comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or at least comparable to the other spouse. Consider talking to a divorce lawyer about the alimony laws in Maryland and places like Pikesville that may apply to you. Like child support, alimony arrangements may be modifiable later on if either ex-spouse’s financial circumstances change.
Letting the Court Determine Alimony
In Maryland, spouses who do not have children in common and who agree to a divorce settlement outside of court can seek an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent. The divorce settlement must include provisions for spousal support, if applicable. However, it isn’t necessarily in either party’s best interests to sign an agreement for spousal support, rather than letting the judge determine the amount and type of support. This is because the court is required to honor these agreements. In other words, either party may not seek a modification through the court in the event that circumstances change. Talk to your alimony lawyer about letting the court determine the matter of spousal support.
Extending or Terminating Alimony
A Maryland court may award alimony pendente lite. This is temporary alimony that is only paid while the divorce is pending. When alimony continues after the divorce is finalized, it is either rehabilitative (short-term) or indefinite. If a spouse was awarded rehabilitative alimony, he or she may petition the court to extend the period in which he or she will receive payments as long as the rehabilitative alimony is modifiable. To argue the spouse’s case, the divorce lawyer may demonstrate that the recipient spouse is unable to become fully self-supporting. Alternatively, a spouse may petition to terminate rehabilitative or indefinite alimony. A termination may be called for if the payor spouse is no longer financially able to make the payments or if the recipient spouse becomes self-supporting.
Modifying the Amount of the Payments
During a divorce, it is impossible to foresee unexpected circumstances such as job loss or reduced wages. There may come a time when the payor spouse is not able to make the full alimony payments. Or, the recipient spouse may receive an inheritance or other sizable financial gift. In either circumstance, one of the spouses may petition the court to modify the amount of the payments.