Maryland Divorce Mediation

Nancy Caplan, Esquire

Divorce Mediation MD - FAQs > Alimony in Maryland
Alimony in Maryland


This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain general legal principles.  However this is not  “legal advice.�  “Legal Advice� can be defined as the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you must consult an attorney / lawyer.



























Alimony in Maryland is defined as the payment of money for support of a spouse or former spouse at specified intervals and the parties must be living separately.  It ends at a specific time as agreed or as ordered by the court, but alimony in Maryland cannot extend beyond the death of either party.


Unlike Child Support in Maryland, for which a formula exists under law, Alimony in Maryland has no specific formula by law.  This makes Alimony notoriously unpredictable.  Court-ordered Alimony in Maryland is determined by examination of several factors, including:


1.) The ability of the party seeking alimony to be completely or partially self-supporting;

2.) The time it will take for the party seeking alimony to obtain education/training to secure employment;

3.) The standard of living of the parties established during their marriage;

4.) the length of the parties’ marriage;

5.) the contributions of each party to the marriage, both monetary and non-monetary (i.e. homemakers);

6.) the circumstances leading to the estrangement of the parties (the “fault� of each party causing the marital break-up;)

7.) The age of each of the parties;  

8.)  The physical and mental health of each party;  

9.) Any agreement between the parties (i.e. prenuptial agreements);

10.) Each parties’ financial needs and resources, including:

a.) income and assets;

b.) Any monetary award allocating property, and concerning use of family home and other family property;

c.) The financial obligations of each party;

d.) The right of either party to receive retirement benefits;  and

e.) Whether the award would cause a paying spouse or a spouse who is a resident of a care facility with more than two patients to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur; and

11.) Any other factor that the Court deems relevant, necessary or appropriate to arrive at an equitable award of alimony.

Alimony begins as ordered by the court, however, it may be ordered retroactively only to the date that a complaint or petition seeking alimony was filed.  Alimony in Maryland can be ordered for a specified period of time, short (rehabilitative) or long-term, and Alimony can be ordered “indefinitely.� 


“Indefinite Alimony� in Maryland is ordered where the Court finds that the party seeking alimony because of age, illness, disability or infirmity, cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting; or where the party seeking alimony has made or will make as much progress towards becoming self-supporting as can reasonably be expected, but yet the respective standards of living of the parties will be “unconscionably disparate.�  “Unconscionably disparate� has no rigid meaning, but rather each case is determined on its facts on a case by case basis.  Typically there must be a gross difference in income levels of the parties in indefinite alimony awards in Maryland.  However, it is this lack of predictability in alimony awards in Maryland which fuels alimony litigation in Maryland.   Indefinite Alimony in Maryland is modifiable upwards or downwards by a court upon a “substantial change in circumstances� or either party.   Parties may enter private agreements making Alimony non-modifiable in which case the Court may not alter an alimony award regardless of circumstances causing hardship.


Alimony is generally deductible by the payor and includable in the gross income of the recipient, however, the parties may agree otherwise.  For tax purposes, alimony must meet specific criteria, and therefore a lawyer or accountant should be consulted to assure the intended alimony meets tax code definitions.



Do you think you might be entitled to alimony or obligated to pay alimony in Maryland?  Take the Alimony Quiz:


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