In Maryland divorce, permanent alimony in your case does not guarantee “permanent” support. The law provides that if your ex-spouse undergoes a “substantial” change in their financial circumstance, they could ask for a modification of the terms of the alimony obligation.
Generally, a change of status from employment to retirement means a significant change in income. However, this does not mean that if your ex-spouse loses their job, you would lose your alimony. There are still ways to ask the judge to set aside requests for alimony modification. An effective solution to this problem is to consult an experienced Maryland family law attorney.
Should your spouse file for a motion to terminate or modify the terms of alimony obligation, you have two options to keep your existing alimony or spousal support payments. The first option is to prove to the court that your ex-spouse did not undergo or experience a “substantial” change in their financial circumstance. The second option is to convince the judge that even with the occurrence of a “substantial” change in circumstance, it would not result in a “harsh and equitable” result for your ex-spouse.
Recently, we had a case in Montgomery County, which involved a man named Mark, who decided to retire from being a supervisor in his 60’s because of failing health. When he retired, Mark was earning $160,000 annually. He also had net assets amounting to almost $1.8 million. Susan, his ex-wife, was 62. The existing terms of the alimony stated that Susan would be receiving $3,200 every month and that she was entitled to the same amount even until Mark had died, she had remarried, or she had died. Mark argued that paying $3,200 monthly during his retirement is harsh and inequitable, claiming that he would be running out of money and exhaust all of his assets.
When it comes to hearings with complex and extensive financial issues regarding alimony or spousal support, you would benefit greatly from having expert evidence supporting your claims or arguments. In this case, Susan was able to present and prove persuasive and credible expert evidence during a trial hearing countering what Mark claimed. Susan countered Mark’s arguments with the expert opinion of a forensic accountant, who testified that Mark could continue paying the existing alimony without running out of money and depleting all his assets until he was 88 years old, when the expected death age was 85 years old according to federal mortality tables.
During trial, having compelling expert evidence will benefit you in two ways. It could have significant bearing with the judge, resulting in a favorable initial ruling, which would be difficult to overturn in an appeal. It should be noted that appeals courts usually overturn during factual disputes in the event that the judge has committed an “abuse of discretion”, which is rarely the case when a decision made by the judge is based on credible expert evidence.
Proper evidence will prove the demerits and faults of the other party’s arguments. If you anticipate conflict when it comes to alimony, make sure you give us a call at (301) 889-8085 to speak with an attorney so we can help you reach an agreement that helps you live comfortably after divorce.