Spouses take on various financial roles in a marriage. Some stay home, some work part-time while the other is the breadwinner, and some play equal roles. When there’s a large disparity in income, assets, debts, etc. some spouses fear life without the financial contribution from their spouse and ask if they would be entitled to alimony. The answer is maybe. This week’s #FamilyFriday article breaks down the road to obtaining alimony.
In Maryland, the Court has a number of factors it must consider when determining an alimony award. Some of these factors include each parties ability to be self-supporting, a party’s ability to obtain suitable employment, length of marriage, standard of living, the age of each party, any agreements between the parties and the health of the parties. Some factors play bigger roles in the Court’s decision-making process than others. For example, a spouse married for 30 years, in their 60s, and having been a stay at home parent may be in a greater position of obtaining alimony than a marriage less than 5 years with both spouses making equal salaries.
After analyzing the various factors the Court can: (a) decline to award alimony, (b) award temporary alimony, or (c) award permanent/indefinite alimony. When presenting your case for an alimony award, your attorney should strongly advocate those factors which play an important role in your case. Your attorney should place emphasis on the length of marriage, the disparity in income, the likelihood of the less economically stable spouse to become more economically stable, the need for additional education, and, if applicable, highlight the circumstances surrounding the divorce. A party who has physically and emotionally abused their spouse who is seeking alimony would play a far great role in the Court’s decision making than the couple who is seeking a divorce based on a voluntary separation.
In the event you and your spouse can reach an agreement about alimony, you should also consider some potential alternatives. The alimony paying spouse may not want to have a monthly payment but may be willing to make a one-time large sum payment. For example, perhaps the alimony paying spouse would rather offer you their share of the equity in the home than pay you alimony each month for the next 5 years. When reaching an agreement you should speak with an attorney to be sure you don’t, or understand the consequences if you do, waive alimony.
Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. You may not know what questions to ask, what rights you have, and what you may be entitled to but the attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC today can help!