Rockville, MD family law attorney Stuart Knotts Skok explains how alimony, also known as spousal support, works in the state of Maryland.
More In This Category
The terms are interchangeable. I think most people call it alimony, but they mean the same thing. And alimony can be awarded at any time in a divorce proceeding; beginning, middle, or end, based on need and ability to pay, and other factors. In Maryland, there are two types of alimony, so there’s rehabilitative alimony and indefinite alimony. And they are exactly what they sound like. So rehabilitative alimony is alimony designed to give one spouse, who is not self-supporting at that time, enough resources to become self-supporting. Maybe he or she needs more education, more time in our current or his current job to develop an increased earning capacity.
And so the court will fashion customized award to that spouse based on the ability to pay of the other spouse, to help that spouse become self-supporting during the time period they think is necessary. There’s no hard and fast rule on the time or the amount. And then indefinite alimony is just that; it’s indefinite until the spouse receiving alimony either remarries or either party dies. And that is awarded in the case where perhaps the spouse, who is not self-supporting, will never be self-supporting. Perhaps by disability, perhaps by age, or by lack of educational, lack of ability to get education. For whatever reason, they won’t become self-supporting, and the other spouse has the ability to support them.
And perhaps there is an unconscionable disparity between their resources. That’s where the court will then try fashion an award, not to equalize them, but to bridge the gap on this unconscionable disparity by a setting an amount and award that is subject to modification down the road. It’s set up indefinitely and either party can come back later and modify it.