Understanding the considerations of alimony

When alimony is a possibility, people may have to look at the income of each spouse, the length of the marriage and the impact the union had on each career.

Not all divorces in Maryland end up with an order for alimony because this type of financial obligation is not right for every separating couple. Judges often have to consider various aspects before ordering a spouse to pay his or her ex any type of money. Some divorces may have orders for property division or child support rather than have orders for spousal funding. Temporary spousal payments may be ordered during the separation phase before the divorce is finalized, but there is no guarantee this order will stand after the process is complete.

The income of each spouse

If both spouses work and have a similar salary, it is unlikely that anyone would be awarded financial support. Instead, alimony is usually reserved for a spouse who has no real earning potential and therefore needs a little help to get by with rent and everyday expenses. Typically, the person who is requesting financial help from an ex must prove that he or she is in need of the monetary assistance and that the other party can afford to make the payments. If either of these points are contested, it may be hard for anyone to receive financial help in this way. Because alimony depends on each person's income, it can be renegotiated years after the separation is finished.

The length of the marriage

One important factor of alimony payments is how long a couple was together. In some states, people have to be married for a certain length of time before this financial allowance is even considered. In other situations, a shorter marriage may require a smaller payment amount or fewer payments over the course of a person's life. For example, some alimony orders are rehabilitative, which means the payments take place until the receiver is able to support him- or herself. This is in contrast with permanent alimony, which is usually paid out until the death of the payee.

The impact of the marriage on each spouse's career

Judges may also consider how a union impacted the separate careers of each person. For example, if one spouse became a stay-at-home parent, he or she may be eligible for financial support from the ex-spouse. Similarly, if a husband or wife played a big role in the other person's ability to earn a degree or get a promotion, alimony may be more likely as a sort of payback.

Alimonies in Maryland can take on many appearances and may be awarded for a variety of reasons. As couples get ready to go their separate ways after a marriage, it may be beneficial for each person to get his or her own lawyer who is familiar with every aspect of the divorce process.