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Determining alimony

When going through a divorce, the court considers many aspects such as child custody and support, property division, and the stipulations of any prenuptial agreements that may exist. In some cases, a spouse may be required to provide spousal support to the spouse who earns less after the divorce in order to eliminate any unfair economic limitations. Before requesting alimony, it is important for Maryland residents to understand how these payments are calculated.

Before awarding alimony, the court will consider several factors such as how long the couple was married, the standard of living they shared, and the emotional and physical condition of both spouses. In most cases, alimony is awarded to the spouse who supported the family in a nonfinancial way while putting his or her career on hold. Alimony payments are generally used to help build the spouse's financial independence.

Once alimony is awarded, the courts will then determine the duration and a feasible amount dependent on the other spouse's gross income. This includes wages, self-employment income and any investment earnings. Once the amount is determined, depending on the complexity of the case, a judge will also decide if the alimony payments will be permanent or temporary.

Every alimony case is different; therefore, Maryland residents are advised to seek the guidance of experienced legal counsel to help them better understand any obligations associated with spousal support. Divorce can be scary, especially when someone is unable to meet his or her needs without financial assistance. However, with the proper legal guidance, obtaining financial security post divorce is possible.

Source:, "Why Gross Income Is Used to Calculate Alimony," Kathy Adams McIntosh, Jan. 23, 2018

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