Permanent alimony payments continue to exist in the state of Maryland. This means that, in rare divorce cases, it’s possible for a family court judge to force one spouse to pay the other spouse monthly alimony checks for the rest of their lives.
Permanent alimony, also known as indefinite alimony, will not be awarded in most cases. However, if the right circumstances are present, then a judge could force this potentially lifetime obligation onto one of the spouses.
The circumstances that need to be present for indefinite alimony
Ultimately, a judge’s decision to award permanent alimony will depend on the answers to the following questions:
- Is the spouse seeking permanent alimony either partly self-supportive or completely self-supportive?
- How long will it take for the “less-moneyed” spouse to become self-sufficient, get appropriate training and find appropriate employment?
- What standard of living did the spouses enjoy while they were married?
- How long did the marriage last?
- What financial and non-financial contributions did the parties make to the family during their marriage?
- What led to the breakdown of the marriage/
- How old are both spouses?
- What are the health conditions of the spouses?
- Does the “moneyed” spouse have sufficient funds to pay the “less-moneyed “spouse alimony?
- Did the spouses have a premarital or postmarital agreement in place?
- What are the financial needs and what are the financial resources of both spouses? This includes income and assets.
- Do either party expect to receive retirement benefits?
- Did either party’s conduct contribute to the marital breakdown?
- Did either party have unexplained expenses during the marriage, especially proceeding divorce?
- Did either party attempt to conceal financial assets from the divorce process?
- Was either party unfaithful?
Judges might award permanent alimony as a punishment
There is a “punishment” factor in many permanent alimony awards. For example, in select circumstances, a judge might award permanent alimony if the moneyed spouse cheated on the less-moneyed spouse. Or, if the moneyed spouse concealed financial assets from the divorce process, it could also result in a punishment award of permanent alimony like this.
Ultimately, every alimony matter is different and depends on a large range of factors. The more spouses understand about Maryland family and divorce law, the better capable they’ll be at evaluating whether they are likely to receive or pay indefinite alimony in their divorce cases.