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Can Alimony be Modified in Maryland?

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Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a common aspect of divorce settlements in Maryland. However, circumstances may change over time, leading to a need for modifying the alimony arrangement. This guide provides an overview of the factors that could allow for the modification of alimony in Maryland, the process for modification, answers to frequently asked questions, and a call to action for seeking legal advice for your specific situation.

Factors for Modifying Alimony:

In Maryland, alimony may be modified based on significant changes in circumstances. Some common factors that could warrant modification include a substantial change in income or financial status of either spouse, remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse, change in financial needs or ability to become self-supporting, retirement or disability of the paying spouse, involuntary loss of employment, or any other relevant and significant change in circumstances.

Process for Modifying Alimony:

To request a modification of alimony in Maryland, follow these general steps. First, consult a family law attorney to understand your rights and options. Next, gather evidence that demonstrates the substantial change in circumstances. Prepare and file a formal written request, known as a motion, to modify alimony with the court that issued the original alimony order. Serve a copy of the motion to the other party involved, following legal service requirements. Attend the scheduled court hearing where both parties present their arguments and evidence. Finally, the judge will make a decision based on the merits of the case and either approve or deny the requested modification, resulting in a new alimony order if approved.

Court In Maryland Modifies Alimony Award When Spouse Failed To Pursue Further Training and Education

Courts in Maryland are permitted by law to grant the type of alimony the court system deems fit based on the specific case. One type of alimony is rehabilitative, which grants the recipient spouse a fixed amount of alimony during a limited time. Rehabilitative alimony states that if trial evidence demonstrates no proof of the steps the recipient spouse took to improve and become self-supporting, the granting or awarding of rehabilitative alimony is subject to a reversal.

In a notable Maryland case, the court decided against the wife, Lily’s, alimony request due to her refusal to engage in further training and education. The couple had been married for a little over twenty-six years. During the marriage, Lily worked as a teacher, but she quit being after facing several disciplinary actions. Because she was burnt out and found the profession too demanding and stressful, she refused to find a new teaching position. Lily then moved to North Carolina and went to find work at department stores, groceries, diners, and restaurants, but she was unable to gain employment. During the process of divorce, Lily asked the judge to award or grant her an indefinite alimony.

After a deliberate review of the evidence, the trial court found Lily had rendered herself destitute. She had no health conditions whatsoever that prevented her from working. Also, she was well equipped with a Master’s degree and professional teaching experience. Once the court finds that one has rendered themselves destitute, it will decide to treat your income as the higher amount when determining alimony. After its findings regarding Lily’s voluntary impoverishment, it still awarded Lily with rehabilitative alimony amounting to $2,700 for the duration of two years.

Lily’s husband, Jake, appealed the alimony. It turned out the awarding of rehabilitative alimony was flawed in this case. Again, rehabilitative alimony is awarded as a fixed amount during a limited period of time. The length of time it is regularly given is determined to correspond to the time needed by the recipient spouse to pursue further training, education, or certification to become self-supporting by finding a reliable or stable employment. In this case, Lily is equipped with professional teaching experience, a Master’s degree, and a teaching certification. She did not need any more credentials to find a suitable source of income or employment.

Furthermore, the trial court gave no terms or conditions about what necessary training and education should be pursued during the two years the alimony will be given. Because the judge could not provide a solid explanation as to what will be gained during the two-year period, Lily will be given rehabilitative alimony to support her chances of finding reliable employment. The grant of the alimony could not stand and was therefore reversed.
Alimony can be quite tricky at times, so it is best to consult with your lawyer regarding any questions you may have. Our family law attorneys have experience handling cases with unique situations such as the one above. We look forward to helping you with your case and achieving the outcome you desire. Gert started by scheduling your consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony Modifications in Maryland

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Q: What Can Stop Spousal Support Payments?
A: Spousal support payments can be stopped for various reasons, including the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse, completion of the agreed-upon alimony term, death of either party or a court-ordered termination based on a significant change in circumstances.

Q: How to Request a Modification?
A: To request a modification of alimony, consult a family law attorney to understand your options and prepare a motion. File the motion with the court and serve notice to the other party. Present your case at the court hearing, providing evidence supporting the need for modification.

Q: How Long Does the Modification Process Take?
A: The timeline for the modification process can vary depending on factors such as court availability, case complexity, and the responsiveness of both parties. It is advisable to consult with an attorney to get a better estimate based on the specifics of your situation.

Seek Legal Guidance for Your Specific Situation:

While this guide provides general information about alimony modification in Maryland, it is essential to consult with a local family law attorney to get personalized advice and guidance. They can evaluate your circumstances, provide insights into relevant laws, and help you navigate the process effectively.

By scheduling a consultation with a qualified family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights, obligations, and the potential modifications available in your specific situation.

Remember, every case is unique, and professional legal advice is crucial for making informed decisions regarding alimony modification.

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