If you’re going through a divorce in Maryland, you may benefit from learning more about the basics of alimony, or spousal support. Alimony is defined as periodic payments from a former spouse to another for assistance with adjustments to their new living situation. The purpose of alimony payments is to help provide an opportunity for the recipient spouse to become self-sufficient.
The separating and divorcing parties may agree to alimony payments or they may be ordered by the court. In Maryland, there is no legal obligation to pay alimony to a former spouse unless there is a court order. In certain cases, courts may order alimony payments with a nullity action. A court order for alimony payments is obtained by filing a petition or complaint about a hearing. The judge considers several factors before awarding spousal support.
Factors affecting alimony
The length of the marriage could affect the judge’s decision when ordering alimony payments. The health and age of each spouse is also a factor in most alimony cases. The judge considers how much income each spouse earns individually, as well as the individual expenses of each spouse. Minors living in the home also affect alimony payments. The judge may also consider how the former couple managed finances throughout the marriage.
Filing for alimony
The spouse or their attorney can seek alimony as part of the divorce complaint or it can be incorporated into a separation agreement if both parties agree to the terms. Former spouses can agree to any amount of alimony, but it can be modified by the court unless the provision in the existing agreement is not subject to modification. During the proceeding, before the divorce has been finalized, a judge may award temporary alimony if appropriate.