Towson Alimony Lawyer
The question of alimony, also known as spousal support, can be one of the most difficult issues to resolve in a divorce. In the best of circumstances, divorcing couples can decide the question of alimony between themselves in a marital settlement agreement, or the matter may have been already decided in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. But often, no agreement has been made, and the divorcing parties argue over whether one party should receive alimony from the other. In these circumstances, it’s up to the judge overseeing the divorce to decide whether alimony should be paid, as well as how much should be paid and for how long. Maryland law provides guidance to judges on the factors to consider when making this determination, but the judge’s decision ultimately rests on the evidence and legal arguments put to the judge by each party’s lawyers.
Lebovitz Law provides practical advice and effective representation in Baltimore County and throughout Maryland to parties going through a divorce and grappling with alimony issues. Family law attorney Richard Lebovitz can help you and your spouse come to an agreement on alimony that is fair and meets the needs of both parties. Lebovitz Law also provides strong representation in court where necessary to resolve an alimony dispute through litigation. Regardless of what your case requires, Lebovitz Law can help. Contact our experienced Towson alimony lawyer today.
Overview of Alimony in Maryland
Alimony refers to a series of periodic payments made from one former spouse to the other for a period of time after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help support a former spouse to become self-supporting. Often during a marriage, one spouse forgoes higher education or a career, or leaves the workforce to raise the children at home or support the other spouse in furthering their education and career. After a divorce, unemployed spouses need financial support while they earn the necessary education, credentials or work experience to become self-supporting. Alimony is meant to help bridge that gap.
Alimony can be ordered by the court after a hearing or trial, or it can be agreed upon by the parties in a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or marital settlement agreement. If the parties reach an agreement themselves, the court is bound to abide by it and enforce it. Alimony is available in either a limited divorce or an absolute divorce.
How Maryland Judges Decide Alimony Awards
In deciding whether to order alimony and how to fashion an award, family court judges in Maryland are required to consider “all factors necessary for a fair and equitable award,” including:
- The ability of the recipient to become partly or completely self-supporting
- The amount of time needed to gain sufficient education or training to find suitable employment
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The monetary and non-monetary contributions that each party made to the well-being of the family
- The reason or reasons for the divorce (note that even if one party is at fault for creating the grounds for the divorce, their misconduct does not automatically bar them from receiving alimony)
- The age and health of the spouses
- The ability of the paying party to meet their own needs while also paying alimony
- Each party’s income, assets, debts and earning capacity
- Any agreement between the parties
These factors are used to decide how much alimony to order and how long it will last. Typically, alimony is awarded for a certain length of time necessary for the receiving party to become financially stable. However, the judge can order that alimony be paid indefinitely if the court finds that the receiving party can’t be reasonably expected to make substantial progress toward self-sufficiency because of their age or health. Another reason for awarding indefinite alimony can occur when even after the receiving party becomes self-supporting, there is still an unconscionable disparity in the standards of living of each party.
Alimony awards can be terminated upon the death of either party, the remarriage of the alimony recipient, or if the court finds it necessary to end alimony payments to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.
Contact Lebovitz Law Today
If you are in the process of getting divorced, you might be anxious about having to discuss the issue of alimony with your spouse. Lebovitz Law can help you get through this important issue by making sure you understand what the law says and how it can protect you and meet your needs. With over 30 years of experience representing all sides in Maryland divorce matters, we know how to handle the issue of alimony or spousal support and all other important issues in your divorce. We’ll help you resolve the question of alimony and other issues efficiently and effectively. Call our experienced Towson alimony lawyer today.