Columbia Spousal Support/Alimony Lawyer
Spousal support is among the most controversial elements of a divorce settlement. Many states, including nearby New Jersey and South Carolina, have substantially reworked their alimony laws in recent years. But the Terrapin State has made no such moves. So, alimony is still an option in most cases, though it is only available for limited purposes. These matters are always complex. In addition to current economic circumstances, spousal support awards must consider likely future economic circumstances.
At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, our Columbia spousal support/alimony lawyers fully understand all these factual and legal complexities. Therefore, we can serve as a strong voice for you throughout the divorce process. During settlement negotiations, we make your position clear and only compromise when such efforts serve your best interests. During legal proceedings, we use the same approach. This attitude does not guarantee a successful outcome, but it does come close to doing that.
Types of Alimony in Howard County
When one spouse files for divorce, the other spouse sometimes must deal with unanticipated emergency costs. These expenses include things like attorneys’ fees, rental deposits, higher household expenses, and so on. Divorce petitioners are not immune to these expenses either.
So, Howard County judges often order temporary spousal support. Alimony pendente lite (while the case is pending) automatically terminates when the case ends. Typically, the judge orders interim support at the temporary hearing.
Temporary alimony is no guarantee of permanent alimony. This determination is much different, especially in terms of the goals of these payments. There are basically two types of post-divorce alimony.
Most judges only order rehabilitative alimony. These limited-duration payments are designed to propel the obligee spouse to economic self-sufficiency. For example, some spouses must go back to school to complete a degree or accept low paying, entry-level jobs to get back into the workforce.
In a few cases, long-term indefinite alimony is appropriate. Before making such an award, there must be evidence in the record of the following:
- Inability to achieve self-sufficiency due to a physical or mental disability, or
- An “unconscionably disparate” standard of living between the ex-spouses.
There is a difference between uneven and unconscionable. Only the latter supports income-redistribution alimony payments.
For the most part, any alimony award may be modified based on some or all of the factors discussed below.
Spousal Support Factors in Columbia
To help the judge determine the appropriate type of alimony, as well as the amount and duration of payments, the law lists a number of factors. Some of them include:
- Length of the marriage,
- Obligee’s financial need,
- Obligor’s ability to pay,
- Relative age and health of the parties,
- Overall property division,
- Economic and noneconomic contributions to the relationship,
- Agreements between the parties, and
- Tax consequences.
Agreements between the parties may be the most important factor. Most Howard County judges uphold spousal support agreements as long as they are not entirely one-sided and each spouse had an equal voice in the process.
Join With an Assertive Columbia Spousal Support/Alimony Lawyer
Most Maryland divorce decrees include some form of alimony payments. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Howard County, contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. After-hours visits are available.