What is Alimony?
Alimony is a certain amount of money paid from one former spouse to another. The amount and frequency will be determined by a marital settlement agreement or by a judge in a court of law. Alimony is usually only paid after a divorce has been granted.
Why is Alimony Necessary?
One partner may need alimony so that they can continue the standard of living that was established during the marriage. It’s possible that a spouse may have been making less money per year than their former partner. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as the type of employment, if one person was a stay-at-home parent or if a partner was enrolled in college, for example.
What Types of Alimony Are There?
In the state of Maryland, there are currently three types of alimony that can be given: temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony and indefinite alimony. Each type of alimony is different. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to every kind of alimony.
Temporary alimony is paid before a divorce. It may be paid for a few weeks or months to help a person get back on their feet financially. The person making the request for temporary alimony must be able to prove that a marriage existed and that there are valid reasons to end the marriage. They should also be able to verify that their former partner can pay alimony and that a need for those payments exists. A person who receives temporary alimony before a divorce may be eligible for rehabilitative or indefinite alimony after the divorce.
Rehabilitative alimony is one of the most common types of alimony. It’s also referred to as statutory alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is paid to one spouse for a certain amount of time until they can financially support themselves.
Most judges don’t award alimony for prolonged periods of time. They want both parties to be able to take care of themselves without relying on others for too long. Once the person who asked for alimony can afford to pay their bills and current expenses, rehabilitative alimony should cease.
The marriage length, age of each partner, reasons for the divorce or separation, medical care requirements, amount of time needed to find suitable employment or become financially self-sufficient, any existing agreements between the spouses, the financial resources and requirements of each partner, the monetary and non-monetary contributions that each person made to the marriage, the mental and physical condition of the partners and the standard of living that was created during the union will be taken into consideration when rehabilitative alimony is asked for. Rehabilitative alimony can be backdated from the day that the alimony request was first made. Alimony can begin on the day that the complaint was made, even if the divorce is not finalized for several weeks or months.
Indefinite alimony may be given if one partner has a permanent disability or other issues that prevent them from being able to pay for basic necessities. If a court finds a significant disparity between the annual income of both parties, they may award indefinite alimony to the person who earns less money per year. The standard of living that is expected for each person after the divorce and any illnesses or other medical conditions that could prohibit one party from becoming financially self-sufficient will also be factored into the decision.
Alimony will end once the person who was receiving those payments gets remarried. They will no longer be financially dependent on their former spouse. It can also be changed. Modifications may be necessary if circumstances warrant changes. The dollar amount of alimony can be adjusted and the amount of time that alimony is paid can be shortened or extended.
Palimony is paid by one person to their former partner in some states. These payments may be made to girlfriends or boyfriends in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. They may have lived together and considered to be married by common law. However, Maryland does not currently recognize common law marriage. It also does not allow non-married people to ask for alimony from their significant other. Therefore, palimony is not paid nor can it be requested in Maryland.
How Can I Ask for Alimony?
Alimony can only be given if a person asks for it. It isn’t awarded automatically. The person making the alimony request must provide reasoning as to why they need the additional financial assistance. They should also provide valid reasons that can support their request.
The judge will evaluate testimony, evidence, and facts that are provided before making a decision. You can represent yourself or enlist the assistance of legal counsel in court. We recommend having a lawyer present in case any questions or concerns arise.
Will my Alimony Request be Granted?
All information that is presented will be reviewed by the judge who is presiding over the matter. If there are reasons to conclude that alimony would be beneficial, it will usually be granted. The judge will review any existing separation agreements to see if there are provisions for alimony. They will want to ensure that the conditions are fair and reasonable. The alimony request should not place undue financial hardship on the person who will be making those payments. Both parties should be able to maintain a reasonable standard of living before, during and after the divorce.
If you need to file for alimony, reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll sit down and listen to what you have to say. Our trained experts can recommend possible actions and assist with some of the paperwork. Alimony money can pay your mortgage, rent, utility bills, car payments and other bills. Those responsibilities aren’t suspended just because you’re going through a divorce. Having a little extra cash when you need it can make it easier to get back on track and on your way toward living a happier, healthier life once the marriage has finally ended.