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The Key Concerns Of Alimony - James Hoffman, Attorney At Law

Dylan Roche
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September 18, 2012

By James Hoffmann, Attorney at Law

When spouses go through a divorce, they must give particular attention to the issue of alimony. Alimony is critical when one spouse does not have the ability to pay his or her own living expenses at the time of divorce.

The stereotypical example of this occurs when a spouse has been away from the workforce for a substantial period of time in order to raise the couple’s children. That spouse may find it difficult or impossible to immediately re-enter the workforce at a satisfactory level of pay. Alimony is also a key concern when one spouse earns considerably more than the other.

Maryland courts generally favor what is known as “rehabilitative alimony.” This type of alimony is paid for a set period of time. It is designed to provide support for the more dependent spouse during a transitional period while that spouse attempts to become self-supporting.

Another type of alimony is known as “indefinite alimony.” A court may award indefinite alimony if one spouse cannot be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting. A court also may award indefinite alimony if it determines there will be an unconscionably large difference between the spouses’ standards of living.

Divorcing spouses may benefit greatly by negotiating an agreement regarding alimony. A significant benefit is the parties will be able to control the result. If the parties do not reach an agreement, then the court will decide whether or not to award alimony. Assuming the court grants alimony, the court will also decide how much to award and how long alimony must be paid.

Divorcing spouses can fashion an agreement that will allow a court to modify its terms under certain circumstances. For instance, the agreement might provide that the court has the power to modify alimony if the paying spouse loses his or her job. Alternatively, an agreement can expressly prohibit any court modification.

The foregoing is meant for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. A party facing questions regarding divorce or alimony should consult with an attorney for additional information.

Severna Park resident James Hoffmann of the Law Offices of James R. Hoffmann, Jr., is a civil practice law firm serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. His practice emphasizes commercial litigation, domestic relations and personal injury. He can be reached by telephone at 410-263-7070.

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