Rehabilitative Alimony: An Opportunity To Become Self Supporting

Maryland divorce attorneys practicing in high income regions such as Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County know that when things go wrong, a couple who could afford the luxury of a “stay at home mom” may find themselves in battle over alimony.

In deciding whether to make an award, as well as the amount and the duration of alimony, the court will consider twelve factors.

In a prior posting, I have discussed issues relating to indefinite alimony. However, Maryland law enacted in 1980 adopted the concept of rehabilitative alimony that is intended to give the dependent spouse an opportunity to become economically self supporting.

If a spouse is unable to support her or himself and if the other spouse is able to pay, the court may award alimony. In deciding whether to make an award as well as the amount and the duration of alimony, the court will consider twelve statutory factors. These include the ability of the party requesting alimony to be wholly or partly self supporting, the time necessary to become self supporting, the standard of living during the divorce, duration of the marriage, contributions (both monetary and nonmonetary) of each party to the well being of the family, circumstances that contributed to the break up, age of each party, physical and mental condition of each party, the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet both his or her needs and the other party’s, and the financial needs and resources of each party.

If the award is rehabilitative, it will end on a date set by the court.

Unless the parties have entered into an agreement that makes alimony non-modifiable, the court may extend the time during which alimony is paid if circumstances arise that would lead to a harsh and inequitable result without an extension. However, the petition for an extension must be filed during the original period. The amount of alimony may also be modified “as circumstances and justice may required.”