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Alimony in Maryland





The information on this page is based on Maryland Law that could be updated and/or changed at any time without Notice.   Accordingly the information on this page is for general information only and is not meant to replace legal advice.   The laws stated on this web site could change at any time and are not at all guaranteed to be up to date.

Family Law varies from state to state and the information on this page is in regard to Maryland Family law only.

Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and Maryland Case Law.     The Maryland Family Law court system is complex and Maryland Family Law requires Judges to consider many variables and laws before making a decision in each Family Law case.   Individual laws cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding how they each interact with each other and within this system could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.

It is in your best interest to consult an experienced Family Law attorney to get specific legal advice regarding your individual case or situation before making any agreements or filing anything regarding a divorce or custody case.

Although there are several Factors the court must consider when awarding alimony in Maryland, there is no specific formula like there is for calculating Child Support.   The facts and circumstances of each particular case will be determinative.   The formula for calculating Child Support in Maryland is different than the decision making process regarding Alimony.

As the relevant case law in Maryland states "Generally speaking, alimony awards, though authorized by statute, are founded upon notions of equity; equity requires sensitivity to the merits of each individual case without the imposition of bright-line tests . . . The statute by design confers wide latitute upon trial courts assessing requests for indefinite alimony . . ." Tracey v. Tracey, 328 Md. 380.

Maryland case law states that rehabilitative alimony is favored over indefinite alimony (Gallahger v. Gallagher, 118 Md. App. 567), however, there is no guarantee whatever in regard to whether the court will award rehabilitative or indefinite alimony, or whether it will award alimony at all.

When considering an alimony award in Maryland, the court must consider all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award, including, but not limited to the following (MD CODE ANN., FAM. LAW 11-106(b):

(1)   the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
(2)   the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
(3)   the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
(4)   the duration of the marriage;
(5)   the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
(6)   the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
(7)   the age of each party;
(8)   the physical and mental condition of each party;
(9)   the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party's needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
(10)   any agreement between the parties; and
(11)   the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
            (i)     all income and assets, including property that does not produce income;
            (ii)     any monetary award or use and possession award
            (iii)   the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
            (iv)     the right of each party to receive retirement benefits;
(12)   whether the award could cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in the statue relating to health care facilities ( 19-301 of the Health-General Article) and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.

* "The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties" can include, but is not limited to, things like "excessively controlling behavior;" "cold behavior;" "hostile behavior;" "refusing to have sex with the Other Party;" "behaving in a disrespectful manner toward the Other Party;" "physical abuse;" "threats;" and/or "verbal abuse."


Possible Extension or Modification Of Alimony


  (a) Extension of Period   - Subject to FL 8-103 (See below), the Court may extend the period for which Alimony is awarded, if:
            (1) circumstances arise during the period that would lead to a harsh and inequitable result without an extension; and
            (2) the recipient petitions for an extension during the period.

  (b) Modification of Amount   - Subject to FL 8-103 (See below), and on the petition of either party, the Court may Modify the amount of Alimony awarded as circumstances and justice require.


8-103. Modification of Deed, Agreement, or Settlement


  (a) Provision Concerning Children - The Court may modify any provision of a deed, agreement, or settlement with respect to the care, custody, education, or support of any minor child of the spouses, if the modification would be in the best interests of the child.

  (b) Exception for Provision Concerning Support of Spouse - The Court may Modify any provision of a deed, agreement, or settlement with respect to spousal support executed on or after January 1, 1976, regardless of how the provision is stated, unless there is a provision that specifically states that the provisions with respect to spousal support are not subject to any Court Modification.

  (c) Certain Exceptions for Provision Concerning Alimony or Support of Spouse - The Court may Modify any provision of a deed, agreement, or settlement with respect to Alimony or spousal support executed on or after April 13, 1976, regardless of how the provision is stated, unless there is:

            (1) an express waiver of Alimony or spousal support; or
            (2) a provision that specifically states that the provisions with respect to Alimony or spousal support are not subject to any Court Modification.


Termination of Alimony


  Unless the parties agree otherwise, Alimony terminates:
            (1) on the death of either party;
            (2) on the marriage of the recipient; or
            (3) if the Court finds that termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.