Alimony in Maryland is often sought by a partner during or after a divorce. It can be a lifeline for those who have relied on their partner for many years.
But, who is entitled to spousal support, and what do you have to do?
Let’s learn more about this topic.
What Is Spousal Support Maryland?
Alimony, which you will also hear people call spousal support, is a monetary payment in Maryland that can be given from one partner to another. This can happen during or after a divorce when the couple is splitting up.
The purpose of spousal support is for one disadvantaged person to receive financial help. This can be for a specified period of time or permanently.
In some marriages, there is going to be one person that earns more money and supports both people. So, when there is divorce, the other person might not be able to maintain their current lifestyle independently. So, this is where alimony comes in. It allows the person to adjust and become self-sufficient when the couple breaks up.
What Type of Maryland Spousal Support Is Available?
A judge is going to be able to appoint various types of spousal support in different cases. They have a lot of discretion, which means that they can give the right award depending on the situation. There are several types of spousal support available, so let’s take a look at them.
First, you have pendente lite support. You can also refer to this as a temporary support. Its purpose is to support the recipient through the divorce proceedings, and it is a form of temporary financial relief.
Then there is rehabilitative support. Just as the name suggests, this is financial help that supports the other person to get back on their feet. In other words, it can be given to a low-earning person after a divorce so that they can find a better job or gain more education.
On some occasions, a court can give permanent spousal support. This is going to be indefinitely, and it will be reserved for cases where the recipient is unable to become financially independent after a divorce. This could be due to their age, length of the marriage, or illness.
What Does a Judge Consider for Awarding Alimony?
There are several factors that a judge will think about to award alimony and the right amount of spousal support. This can include the income of both of the parties and the length of the marriage. Each person’s contributions can be a factor too.
The standard of living the couple has is often something a judge will think about. This includes personal factors, such as the age and health of each party. No one factor is more important than the other; the judge takes them as a whole to make the right decision in each case.
What Is the Average Alimony Payment in Maryland?
It is difficult to say what the average alimony payment is in the state. It is important to remember that every case is going to be different. Thus, not every divorce proceeding is going to settle on the same amount of spousal support.
Therefore, every case is going to be different when it comes to alimony. After all, the judge has to think about the marriage itself, which will be unique. They will use the common factors to decide the best payment solution for every couple.
How Does Someone Pay Spousal Support?
The partners will be advised on how spousal support should be paid during the verdict. Normally, this is through periodic payments. This means that the recipient will receive financial support on a regular basis, and this is often how couples like to manage the situation. It can be easiest for both people.
Periodic payments can mean monthly as well as bi-weekly. The most important thing is that the financial support is going to suit both the payer and recipient. After all, it has to suit the lifestyles of each partner to be fair and manageable.
While it is less often, there are some cases where a lump-sum payment to a partner can be made. This might suit situations where the party that has to pay is unemployed. They are able to give a lump sum to their partner and fulfill their obligation once instead of regularly.
Again, it will be down to what works best for the parties involved.
Can You Enforce an Alimony Award in Maryland?
Yes, if the payor is not meeting their obligations and what is contained within the court order, it is possible to force them to pay. There are a number of ways that can be done, but it must be brought to the court to deal with first.
Therefore, if you are the recipient of spousal support and your ex-partner has stopped paying, try not to take the situation into your own hands. It is best to leave this to the courts in case you endanger yourself or make matters worse.
The court is going to be able to bring contempt of court proceedings. This can lead to a fine or jail sentence for the payor. Alternatively, there are enforcement orders that might be more appropriate. This can include withholding certain payments to the person or suspending licenses until they pay spousal support arrears.
The court takes non-payment of spousal support very seriously. If you are the payor and find that you cannot meet your obligations, it is best to seek help for this. Do not simply hope that nobody notices and not pay one month. This can lead to a lot of trouble later on.
Are There Tax Consequences To Alimony in Maryland?
Yes, there are tax consequences that you want to be aware of when it comes to spousal support in the state. Over the years, this has changed, so you need to know what the current laws say about it.
For example, any alimony orders created before January 2019 will mean that alimony is taxable to the recipient. The spousal support payments will also be deductible for the payor. However, the rules for new alimony orders have changed.
If you are divorcing after January 2019 and there is an alimony order, the spousal support paid by the payor is not going to be deductible. In addition, in Maryland, alimony will not be seen as income for the person receiving it.
Can You Modify Spousal Support?
Yes, it is possible to change the amount of spousal support payments you make to your ex-partner. But, this is not something that you can do yourself. In other words, do not simply change the amount you are paying them because you want to. There has to be a reason for this, and you must bring this matter to the courts.
Indeed, there are situations in life where you will not be able to make the same spousal support payments you once did. For example, if you lose your job or your circumstances change, the court is going to recognize that you cannot meet the same obligations you once could.
A judge is going to be willing to modify spousal support when there is a substantial change in a person’s lifestyle. They will review the facts, and you will have to present evidence to show there should be modification of the spousal support amount.
Can Alimony in Maryland End?
Yes, spousal support in Maryland does not always continue indefinitely, even when there has been a permanent order by the judge. There are a number of different circumstances where alimony can end.
First of all, if there is a death of one of the parties, this will terminate the spousal support agreement. Of course, this means that one spouse will not be able to pay the financial support, or the other person cannot receive it. So, the order comes to an end.
Alternatively, if the recipient of the alimony goes on to remarry, this will end the spousal support agreement. The idea is that they now have a new partner, and they are going to be able to provide for them. This releases the ex-partner of their financial obligations after divorce.
There is also the situation where a court can re-evaluate spousal support. This is when one of the parties brings this forward. The judge will look at the circumstances and see whether the alimony is still fair and necessary. If they find that the alimony order Is not inequitable or harsh for the payor, it can end.
If you are going through a divorce, you will want to know about Maryland alimony laws. This will make sure that you get all of the support you need.
So, let’s summarize what we have learned about Maryland alimony reform and what the current laws are:
- Spousal support allows you to receive a payment during or after divorce if you need financial help
- Alimony is from one spouse to another to maintain a similar lifestyle
- Several types of alimony include pendente lite support, rehabilitative support, and permanent spousal support
- Judges will consider the party’s income, age, health, and other personal factors
- Every case is going to be unique, and there is no average alimony payment you can expect
- Spousal support can be paid periodically or in a lump sum
- If someone is not paying alimony, a judge can order them to pay through enforcement orders
- Spousal support is no longer tax-deductible
- You can modify spousal support in the future if something substantial happens that would affect payment
- If one of the parties dies, this will end spousal support in Maryland
- If the recipient of spousal support chooses to remarry, this is going to end the alimony order they have with their ex-partner
Maryland is unique when it comes to spousal support, and it is important to know all of the rules and regulations before you claim this. Alimony can be a monetary payment that helps you become self-sufficient after relying on your partner during a marriage.
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