The Law of Alimony
It is a fundamental principle of Maryland family law that “alimony awards, though authorized by statute, are founded upon notions of equity[.]” Tracey v. Tracey, 328 Md. 380, 393 (1992). A Court can look at a laundry-list of factors when determining whether or not alimony is appropriate. Because the purpose of alimony is the “rehabilitation of the economically dependent spouse,” Maryland favors the provision of rehabilitative alimony for a fixed term to assist the dependent spouse in becoming self-supporting. St. Cyr v. St. Cyr, 228 Md. App. 163, 184-85(2016) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, indefinite alimony is appropriate when fairness requires it. Boemio v. Boemio, 414 Md. 118, 143-144(2010).
Indefinite alimony should be reserved, however, for exceptional circumstances, i.e. “if the standard of living of one spouse will be so inferior, qualitatively or quantitatively, to the standard of living of the other as to be morally unacceptable and shocking to the court.” Karamand v. Karamand, 145 Md. App. 317, 338(2002).In deciding whether to make an award of alimony and, if made, the amount and duration of the award, the court shall consider the following factors: (1) the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;(2) the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;(3) the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;(4) the duration of the marriage; (5) the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;(6) the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;(7) the age of each party;(8) the physical and mental condition of each party;(9) the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party’s needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;(10) any agreement between the parties;(11) the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:(i) all income and assets, including property that does not produce income;(ii) any award made under §§ 8-205 and 8-208 of this article;(iii) the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and,(iv) the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and(12) whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in §19-301 of the Health-General Article and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur. FL§ 11-106(b).