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Maryland’s authoritative guide to divorce.

The analysis of whether alimony must be paid, and how much, is one of the most hotly contested issue in divorce. Unlike child support, which can often be mathematically calculated, alimony is fraught with uncertainty.

The purpose of alimony is to provide support to a spouse who needs rehabilitation or permanent support due to the length of the marriage and many other factors. If alimony is not resolved at the time of the divorce, generally a spouse can never go back again and ask that it be granted. Once you sign an agreement about alimony, you are stuck. Thus, whether you are a “dependent spouse” or are concerned you will owe alimony, it is always a good idea to seek advice.

Maryland has a list of factors to determine whether a spouse should receive alimony. These factors include:

  • The ability of the dependent spouse to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
  • The time necessary for dependent spouse to gain enough education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
  • The standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each of the party to the well-being of the family;
  • The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
  • The age of each party;
  • The physical and mental condition of each party;
  • The ability of the spouse paying alimony to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting the needs of the dependent spouse;
  • Any agreement between the parties;
  • The financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
    • All income and assets, including all property that does not produce income;
    • Any monetary award concerning property and award of possession and use of the family property
    • The nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
    • The right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
  • Whether the award would influence medical assistance.

There exists a great deal of fear surrounding the subject of alimony, and information will help you to make decisions about what you can expect. If alimony may be a consideration in your divorce, consider a “divorce coaching” session - - retaining an attorney to educate you on your chances of paying or receiving alimony. The results will help guide you as you make important decisions about your life. Click here for more information on divorce coaching.