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Alimony in Maryland

Prospective clients often ask Rockville and Bethesda divorce attorneys if they are entitled to alimony, or, if they are the spouse earning more money, whether they will have to pay to alimony upon obtaining a divorce in Maryland. There is no quick answer to the question, but it is first important to understand what type of alimony a judge in a Maryland divorce case can award based upon the facts at hand.

What types of alimony are available in Maryland?

Alimony while Maryland divorce case is pending: While you are the process of obtaining a divorce absolute, you are likely living apart and separate and leading separate lives. You may be asking for an award of alimony when the case is concluded, but it is often hard to wait for a final judgment. This is similar to how things work in child support cases.

In this situation, you can sometimes file for what is known as temporary alimony. Temporary alimony, as the names implies, is imposed for only a temporary time period until the court can fashion a final order, which may include an award of alimony. The legal term for temporary in the Maryland family court is pendante lite.

Once the judge has had a final hearing, or the parties have reached an agreement, the judge can order what is known as rehabilitative alimony, or he or she can order your spouse to pay indefinite alimony.

What is rehabilitative alimony?

The most common type of alimony awarded in connection with a Maryland divorce case is known as rehabilitative alimony or spousal support. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to give the spouse enough time get his or life back together and get back into the workforce. This can include going to going back to school, obtaining a certification or license, or simply the time to look for a job and get back to work. However, unlike the case with indefinite alimony, as will be discussed below, rehabilitative alimony will not last forever.

Is there permanent alimony in Maryland?

While the Maryland Code does use the term permanent in regard to the types of alimony awards, the law does recognize what is known a right to indefinite alimony in some cases. As the name implies, the court can impose an order that one spouse pay the other for an indefinite amount of time. This is not a typical remedy and is generally only appropriate when there is a very large income disparity between the parties or if one of the parties have a physical or mental health condition that renders it necessary for the former spouse to support him or her.

It should be noted that while traditionally many people think that it is always the husband who pays his former wife alimony, there is no gender limitation, and it is not uncommon these days for a female spouse to owe her male spouse alimony. The reality is that the court will look at the standard factors that determine if and how much alimony to award and listen to any arguments by your Rockville divorce attorney before making a decision.

If you need assistance with a divorce case or any other family law matter in the District of Columbia or Maryland, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross for a consultation.