What to Know About Alimony

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When you go through a divorce, the question of alimony is often brought up. If you’re a spouse that’s curious about receiving alimony or a spouse that may be responsible for paying alimony, you want to know exactly what it is. This blog will explain what exactly alimony is and what you should know about it. 



What is Alimony? 

Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a court-ordered predetermined sum of money that one person pays to another due to a separation or divorce. It is intended to enable a spouse with a lower income to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed during a marriage. It is granted for either a specific amount of time or indefinitely. 


How Does Alimony Work?

There are various factors a judge will consider when determining whether to grant alimony, how much alimony should be granted, and for how long. But in general, the amount of alimony payments vary according to the length of the marriage and the income difference between the two partners. Alimony payments are typically made once a month and can last until:

  • The former spouse who is receiving alimony has remarried
  • The court-ordered specified end date is reached
  • A judge determines the spouse receiving alimony payments has not made a satisfactory effort to become self-sufficient 


Types of Alimony

In Maryland, there are three types of alimony: alimony pendente lite, rehabilitative alimony, and indefinite alimony.


Alimony pendente lite is a type of alimony a court can reward before the time you file for divorce and the time the divorce is final. Being awarded this type of alimony does not necessarily mean you will be awarded alimony after the divorce; it simply is a means of maintaining the status quo throughout the divorce process. 


Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type of alimony awarded to spouses. This type of alimony is time-limited and usually associated with a goal, like going back to school. Results will vary based on numerous factors, but the average amount of time spouses are rewarded rehabilitative alimony is 3-10 years.


Indefinite alimony is a rare type of alimony awarded that has no specific endpoint. A spouse may be awarded indefinite alimony if they:

  • Cannot make reasonable progress toward supporting themselves due to age, an illness, or a disability
  • Are making reasonable progress toward supporting themselves but cannot attain the same or similar standard of living as their ex-spouse. Their ex-spouse’s standard of living is therefore considered “unconsciously disparate” for the spouse receiving alimony.


Who Pays Alimony?

The spouse who makes the most money will be responsible for alimony payments. Judges also consider future earning potential when determining alimony. 


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When you’re going through a divorce, let Alan Billian help. He’ll help you navigate through important divorce issues such as alimony, child support, child custody, and more. Get started now with a FREE 30-minute consultation

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