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  • Writer's pictureLaurie M. Wasserman

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is money that is paid by one spouse to the other to provide an economic means for both people to address their new, separate households. The primary purpose of alimony is to provide an opportunity for the receiving spouse to become self-supporting. Despite how Hollywood movies may portray alimony, it is not a form of punishment for bad deeds during the marriage. There are many factors the court must consider when determining the amount of alimony. And unlike child support, there is no simple equation or 50/50 split of income.

There are three types of alimony:

  1. Temporary alimony is only intended to maintain the financial status quo of the parties until the court makes a final decision regarding alimony. This amount is based solely on the financial need of the receiving spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

  2. Rehabilitative alimony is the most common form of alimony. The goal of rehabilitative alimony is to provide the spouse who needs financial support enough alimony to get them to a point where they can be financially self-supporting. For example, a spouse may receive alimony for a duration long enough to complete an education training program to re-enter the workforce.

  3. Indefinite alimony is awarded when the spouse seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting because of age, illness, or disability. In this case, even if the financially dependent spouse makes progress towards becoming self-supporting, the respective standards of living of the parties will be unconscionable disparate.

If you would like to receive alimony, you may file a Complaint For Alimony with the court and a required financial statement. The person who files for alimony is not required to obtain a divorce, but they must have grounds for divorce. Alimony can also be determined outside the Court by the two parties in an agreement.

Alimony is not one-size-fits all process. If you are seeking advice regarding alimony or other family law matters, please contact Wasserman Family Law at 410-842-1070 or We practice in jurisdictions throughout the State of Maryland.

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