How does a Maryland judge determine alimony in a divorce?
The end of a marriage brings about a host of difficult decisions which need to be made in order that both parties can move on with their lives. In divorces where spouses share children, decisions regarding the division of assets and property always take a backseat to whatever is in the best interests of the children.
Maryland judges consider several factors regarding whether a spouse should receive alimony and how long that period of spousal support should last. These factors are all based on need, and there is perhaps no better way for a spouse to demonstrate a necessity for alimony than having primary custody of the children.
Some other factors of need which the court may examine are the duration of the marriage and what brought about the divorce. For example, a judge may be inclined to award alimony to a spouse forced to leave a 30 year marriage due to the other spouse engaging in domestic violence.
Additionally, a judge may consider the standard of living that the couple enjoyed prior to the end of their marriage. Consideration will also be given to the ability of each spouse to support themselves on their own. This may include a temporary award of alimony to give a spouse needed time to obtain education or training to become self-supporting.
Maryland judges are also permitted to look at the ages as well as the mental and physical conditions of both spouses when making an alimony determination. In all fairness, a younger spouse should not be awarded a large portion of alimony if a much older spouse is extremely disabled and saddled with expensive medical costs.
Ultimately, Maryland judges are afforded a lot of discretion when determining alimony awards. This is why it is important to consult with your family law attorney to help articulate your financial needs to secure your future at the end of your marriage.
Source: The General Assembly of Maryland, "Article - Family Law-§11–106." Sep. 26, 2014