Maryland courts no longer award spousal support only to the woman. Times have changed, and equality is at the forefront of American life. Courts have kept up with the times. Here is what you need to know about spousal support in the modern world:
- Understanding alimony, the purpose of the support;
- Maryland awards different types of alimony, and the circumstance decides the length of payments; And
- Man or Woman, who pays the support depends on who can afford it.
The Purpose of Spousal Support
Alimony is not awarded based on someone’s want for their ex to pay them money for the divorce. Spousal support limits the economic impact of divorce by providing support to the non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse.
One spouse pays the other an amount decided by the courts to provide the opportunity for them to become self-sufficient. The justification for alimony comes from the fact that a spouse may have refrained from employment to support the family at home. Either party must request alimony before the divorce is finalized. You cannot request support after the divorce decree is handed down.
The basis for alimony comes from “the standard of living of the marriage.” This is how the court determines who gets the support and who pays it. That “standard” says that when the marriage ends, both parties should be able to go on living as they were before the divorce.
Whoever makes most of the household income will likely pay spousal support. That’s because the spouse who didn’t earn as much income would see their standard of living drop, while the breadwinning spouse would see a rise in the standard of living.
Either you support the lifestyle before the divorce or share in the decline of lifestyle because of the divorce. Most couples tend to see a drop off in their lifestyle following divorce as it is more expensive to support two households.
Now, Maryland courts won’t make you go bankrupt paying alimony. They understand that you need to support yourself and care for any children, so the amount of alimony is also based on the ability to pay it. Meaning the amount of alimony requested won’t necessarily be granted if the payee cannot afford that amount.
There are different types of alimony that Maryland courts award, and it depends on several factors.
Alimony Can Be Awarded Differently Depending on Circumstances
Maryland awards three different types of spousal support. Which depends on factors, including:
- Length of the marriage.
- The financial situation during the marriage, now, and in the future.
- Age, physical health, and mental health.
- The reasons for the divorce.
Remember, alimony must be requested during the divorce proceedings, and the court will grant the following kinds.
- Pendente Lite Alimony – This type of spousal support gets awarded between the time the divorce is filed and finalized and meant to keep the status quo while the divorce proceedings occur. Even though granted, it does not mean the alimony will continue at the finalization of the divorce. That depends on the need.
- Rehabilitative alimony – The most commonly awarded alimony type. Courts grant this kind of support to allow one party to gain the education or skills necessary to become self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony comes with a time limit, usually the estimated time to obtain the skills or education.
- Indefinite alimony – Rarely awarded and has no specific endpoint. Indefinite alimony only gets awarded to spouses who have a considerable and unfair difference between living standards. For instance, a spouse who is disabled and not able to become gainfully employed may be granted indefinite alimony to support themselves. This alimony may be paid until the death of yourself or the former spouse. Although, this can be modified in the future as circumstances change.
The type of alimony awarded can begin before the divorce is completed and possibly go through until death. Either spouse can request alimony, but knowing the situation you are in is key in determining if you qualify to receive alimony.
It’s Not Just Women Who Get Alimony; More Men Are Receiving It Today
Traditionally, women were awarded alimony, but times have changed, and today more men are winning alimony awards. Gender no longer plays a role in who gets alimony, thanks to Maryland’s equal rights amendment.
We now have same-sex marriages in Maryland, too, so the divorcing parties are not necessarily male and female. They could be two men married or two women married, so that too plays a role in winning alimony in today’s world.
In the past, women usually gave up working and stayed at home, but our modern world households often have two working spouses, and more and more men are becoming a stay at home dads. The courts have kept up with these progressive changes and award alimony without gender considerations.
A survey done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers noted a 45% increase in women being on the hook for alimony payments. Women are holding higher-paying positions and making more money than in the past, leading to the change in the traditional alimony winner.
Maryland judges expect both parties in the divorce to make reasonable efforts to become self-supporting, so they usually only award the spousal support for a limited time and to the requesting party making the lesser amount of money.
The fact is you are divorcing, so you are moving on to separate and distinctly new lives and need to do that on your efforts. It’s reasonable to have some assistance to achieve that independence after the divorce.
Moving on to a new chapter is not easy, but The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC‘s family attorneys are here to help you get the fresh start you deserve and any support needed to do so. There is life after divorce and even if you’re the spouse paying the support, remember it’s to ensure a “standard of living” for each spouse now that the marriage is over.
Contact The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC today for a free initial consultation on your divorce and alimony request. We’re here to get you the best outcome so you can get through a tough time in life.
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