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Understanding spousal support and alimony adjustments

Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be a complex topic. Understanding how alimony works is important if you are going through a divorce.

Understanding the basics of spousal support in Maryland and the factors that can lead to changes in alimony payments helps you address potential problems.

Alimony types

Maryland recognizes three main types of alimony: temporary, rehabilitative and indefinite. Temporary alimony provides monetary support during the divorce process. It ends when you finalize your divorce.

Rehabilitative alimony helps the lower-earning spouse become self-sufficient. It provides financial support for education or job training and lasts for a set period.

Indefinite alimony is less common. This kind of support applies when a spouse cannot become self-supporting due to age, illness or disability. A court may also award indefinite support if your living standard will significantly differ from that of your spouse after the divorce.

Alimony decisions

Maryland courts evaluate several factors when determining alimony payments. Considerations include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age of each spouse
  • Physical and mental health of each partner
  • Financial resources and needs of each party
  • Contributions each spouse made to the family
  • Standard of living during the marriage

The court also looks at how much time the spouse receiving support will need to gain education or training for suitable employment.

Alimony adjustments

Life changes can lead to adjustments in alimony. If you or your ex-spouse experiences significant shifts in circumstances, it may be possible to modify the alimony agreement. Common reasons for adjustment include changes in income, loss of employment, remarriage or significant health issues.

To request an alimony adjustment, you must show a substantial change in circumstances. The court reviews the new situation and decides whether to increase, decrease or terminate alimony payments. You cannot usually modify temporary alimony, as it only covers the period until the divorce finalizes.

Understanding spousal support and potential adjustments can help you navigate divorce proceedings and handle issues that can arise later. Staying informed about Maryland’s alimony laws enables you to advocate for fair and appropriate support arrangements.

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