Fifty years ago, alimony requests were a major part of divorce proceedings. This was due in part to the fact that there weren't as many women in the workforce as there are today. Many women stayed home with the kids, losing years of opportunities to further their careers and earn an income of their own. In those days, alimony payments were necessary for a woman to maintain financial stability after a divorce. The same is not true today.
Times have changed now. Women make up approximately half of the workforce. The phrase "stay-at-home dad" has entered our societal lexicon. And now, it's not just women who make alimony requests, men do as well. So what could any of our readers in Montgomery County expect during their divorce proceedings if their spouse asks for alimony payments?
There are three types of alimony that a judge could award in a Maryland divorce. The first two - alimony pendent lite and rehabilitative alimony - are both awarded on the basis of need and are considered temporary, meaning they have specific end dates. As for the third type, though it may be the rarest to see awarded, it is still a possibility in our state.
We're talking about indefinite alimony. This form of alimony is only awarded in extreme financial situations, such as if one spouse's income in "unconscionably disparate" to their partner's income or if one spouse is disabled, ill or otherwise unable to make "reasonable progress toward supporting [themselves]."
As we have explained before on our blog, Maryland family law judges take a lot into consideration when determining what type of alimony should be awarded and what the amount should be. Giving judges authority over the lives of people they only just met typically doesn't sit too well with most people, which is why many seek assistance from a lawyer who knows each spouse's needs and can help explain this to the judge.
Source: The People's Law Library of Maryland, "Alimony and Its Purpose," Accessed Oct. 14, 2015