Understanding Spousal Support
Spousal Support, or alimony, is the payment from one spouse to the other during a separation and after a divorce. Alimony can be awarded for a temporary period of time ("rehabilitative") or for an indefinite period of time. Alimony payments are generally designed to help the lower wage earner in the relationship improve their personal financial situation.
Maryland provides for three awards of alimony:
Pendente Lite: This award of support relates to the period of time between when the divorce is filed until the decree of divorce.
Rehabilitative alimony: This is the most common form of alimony awarded. It is granted for a defined period of timed and its purpose is to give the recipient a sufficient amount of time to obtain the education, training or employment necessary to become self-supporting.
Indefinite alimony: As the name implies, this is support awarded at the time of the divorce for an unspecified length of time. It is usually granted to spouse unable to support himself or herself due to age, disability, work history and medical complications.
Leveling the Playing Field
Spousal support is actually based on many factors, including the age, health, current earnings, income-earning potential, and educational level of each spouse, the couple’s standard of living and the length of the marriage. Ultimately the goal of alimony payments as mandated by the court is not to “punish” one of the parties, rather to “level the playing field” and ensure that the individual in the weaker post-divorce financial position has a fair chance at a fresh start.
When alimony is sought by a party, the court requires both parties to complete a financial statement to assist the court. The accurate completions and use of this form is vital in a successful alimony action (as well as defending against one). A full assessment of your current financial circumstances is critical if you are to receive the best chance at fair future compensation, so we advise our clients to come to our first meeting with copies of all of their important financial records, including tax returns, pay stubs, insurance policies, investment statements, benefit documents, and retirement statements.
Receiving Fair Compensation
Voss Law thoroughly understands the important points of the Maryland alimony process and has the experience to help you realize the best financial award for your new independent life--both in terms of receiving alimony and paying (or not paying) alimony. We work to thoroughly assess all of the information and negotiate or litigate fair compensation. Contact us today for a comprehensive consultation, (410) 457-7272.