Concerning alimony, Maryland has two types – rehabilitative alimony and indefinite alimony.
The difference between these types is that rehabilitative alimony is paid and received for a fixed and limited time only, while indefinite alimony means there is no specific end date to paying and receiving spousal support. Generally, Maryland’s court system frowns upon granting indefinite alimony, except in some circumstances which require it and is considered fair and proper. Divorcing couples are advised to know and understand to which direction the details and facts of your case are bound.
Lenny and Michelle have been married for twenty-five years, when Michelle filed for a divorce. Michelle earned $78,000 annually as a consultant, while Lenny was earning five times what his wife earned. When a couple has a huge disparity in income like Lenny and Michelle, alimony or spousal support becomes a big concern. Consequently, Michelle asked for spousal support. The court awarded Michelle $4,000 every month for 8 years as spousal support. Michelle, however, took an appeal and had the ruling reversed.
Maryland law generally favors spousal support that lasts for a fixed and limited time only.
However, indefinite alimony is more appropriate when the receiving spouse cannot be obligated and expected to be self-supporting due to age, health reasons, and disability and when, even if the receiving spouse has become self-supporting, there remains an “unconscionable disparity” between the divorced couple’s incomes. Because there remains an unconscionable disparity between Lenny’s and Michelle’s income, the latter reason or circumstance was used to obtain a reversal.
Maryland law does not provide a specific and fixed percentage figure to base whether or not a divorcing couple’s incomes are unconscionably disparate. Because of case precedents with their previous court rulings, the disparity or difference between Lenny’s income and Michelle’s income was sufficiently clear and enough to be described as unconscionably disparate. Past court cases were found in which recipient spouse’s made only 28 to 43 percent of the supporting or paying spouse. This case presents the wife earning only 20 percent of what the husband does earn. It satisfies the aspect of unconscionable disparity between the husband’s income and the wife’s income. The court could have performed a more in-depth analysis of the case and awarded indefinite alimony.
Michelle, in this case, has demonstrated proof of an unconscionable disparity between her income and that of her spouse. Whatever the issue is, whether it is alimony or something else, you will need a clear understanding of the law and the skill and experience to apply the principles to the details and facts of your case.
If you are heading towards divorce and anticipate an alimony battle, make sure you contact one of our trusted family law attorneys. Communicate your goals with us regarding your divorce and alimony, and we will help you reach them. Feel free to call (301) 889-8085 or schedule a consultation online.