If you are contemplating divorce or you are a party in an existing case, you can probably expect the question of alimony to come up in connection with the proceedings. Though it may get a bad name, alimony is really a legal way of leveling the playing field between two spouses. Whether one spouse has a higher income, someone gave up opportunities during the marriage, or other grounds exist, Maryland’s statute on alimony addresses these disparities.
However, there is no automatic entitlement to receive alimony. Bitter disputes can arise between spouses over the amount, duration, and related factors, so it is wise to trust a Maryland divorce lawyer for legal help. You might also benefit from reviewing some answers to common questions about how alimony works.
Are there different types of alimony?
Maryland law provides for three forms of spousal support that may be appropriate in divorce:
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is intended to support the recipient for a limited time so he or she can become financially independent;
- Indefinite spousal maintenance, often awarded in divorces after a long-term marriage when one spouse may encounter challenges with becoming self-supporting; and,
- Pendente Lite alimony, providing temporary support for a lower earning spouse while the divorce is pending.
How is alimony determined in Maryland divorce cases?
First, you should note that parties can enter into an agreement for spousal support, which would avoid a court hearing on the matter. However, if a judge must decide, relevant factors include:
- Any characteristics that affect the recipient’s employability, such as age, education, training, physical abilities, and related issues;
- The financial needs and resources of each party;
- The recipient’s past contributions to the marriage and family, mainly focusing on opportunities he or she gave up to do so; and,
- Many others.
Is it possible to modify alimony?
Either party can move to modify the amount or duration of alimony. If there has been a material change in circumstances after the court decides the issue. One of the most frequently cited reasons for changing spousal support is the payor’s job loss or reduction in income. In addition, alimony will terminate when either party dies or the recipient gets remarried. Keep in mind that if you reached an agreement on alimony and included a provision prohibiting modification, it is difficult to make changes later.
Is alimony taxable in Maryland?
This question is important due to recent changes in the law. Prior to 2019, spousal support constituted income for the recipient and a deduction for the payor for purposes of income taxes. Currently, all agreements or court orders on alimony require tax neutral treatment, similar to child support. The payor cannot deduct alimony and the recipient will not incur tax liability for payments.
Get More Information from a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Attorney on Alimony Questions
You need solid legal representation to assist with the issue as part of a Maryland divorce case. Regardless of whether you may be paying alimony or could be entitled to receive it. Our lawyers can help with negotiations and court proceedings, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation.