Alimony is a payment made by one spouse to another in the event of divorce. The period of payment in most of the cases is limited, but rarely, lifetime or permanent alimony is awarded. It is often assumed that the husband is the person who pays alimony to the wife. However, times have changed. In many households, the Wife is the primary income earner. In some homes, the Husband has chosen to stay home and care for the children.
Can the man be awarded alimony in Maryland? The answer is YES!
Husbands Have Equal Rights to Alimony in Maryland
The Equal Rights Amendment in Maryland changed the rules regarding who can be awarded alimony. Both the Husband and Wife have equal claims to alimony. An award of alimony is gender-neutral and depends upon the consideration of several factors. The court can award alimony to either the Husband or the Wife depending upon how the facts of a particular case.
Factors that Will Result in an Award of Alimony to the Husband
Most obviously, the court will consider:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial circumstances that existed during the marriage, like whether one spouse was the primary wage earner, whether a spouse gave up his career to take care of the children and the like
- The financial circumstances that are likely to exist after the divorce. The court will compare each spouse’s earnings and earning potential. The court may consider what is necessary to rehabilitate the financially dependent spouse.
- The reasons for the divorce. For example, are the parties divorcing because of abuse?
There are factors that the court must consider that are defined by the Maryland Code, Family Law Section 11-106.
The Factors Are:
- The ability of the parties seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
- The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
- The standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each of the party to the well-being of the family;
- The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
- The age of each party;
- The physical and mental condition of each party;
- The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
- Any agreement between the parties;
- The financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
- All income and assets, including all property that does not produce income;
- Any monetary award concerning property and award of possession and use of the family property;
- The nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party;
- The right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
- Whether the award would cause a paying spouse or a spouse who is a resident of a care facility with more than two patients to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.
Permanent (a/k/a Indefinite) Alimony
Courts prefer to award rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is alimony awarded for a set period of time. The length of the award is largely dependent upon how long it will take the financially dependent spouse to become self-supporting. However, if the court finds that it is not likely that the spouse will become self-supporting, or that the standards of living will be unconscionably disparate, then the court may award indefinite alimony.- An indefinite alimony award continues unless and until a court order otherwise. An award of indefinite alimony would not be unlikely in cases where the husband is disabled or elderly and cannot be expected to gain a job to support himself. Courts will also look at the likely financial circumstances of each spouse after the divorce. If the court finds that there will be an “unconscionably disparate” standard of living, even after the party has rehabilitated, then the court may award indefinite alimony.
Talk to a Divorce Attorney in Maryland
In Maryland, husbands have equal rights in the case of divorce. If you are a husband seeking a divorce, then you owe it to yourself to learn what your rights are. You can only assess what is right for you if you are fully informed. You should talk to a lawyer and get informed before you talk to your spouse. If you are considering an alimony claim, it is important that you understand what the likely result will be in YOUR case. Contact Alice Pare in Germantown, Maryland, to know about your Alimony rights.