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Common misconceptions about Maryland alimony laws

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Family Law |

Alimony, or spousal support, is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings in Maryland. However, several misconceptions often cloud the understanding of how the law works. 

Here are some of the most common misconceptions clarified.

Alimony is automatically granted in every divorce

One prevalent myth is that alimony is guaranteed in every divorce case in Maryland. In reality, alimony is not automatically granted. 

Maryland courts consider various factors like how long the marriage lasted, the financial situation of each spouse and how well each spouse can support themselves when the divorce is final. Alimony is typically awarded when one spouse needs financial support, and the other can pay.

Myth 1: Alimony is permanent

There is a misconception that alimony always lasts indefinitely. In Maryland, alimony can be: 

  • Temporary alimony: May be awarded during divorce proceedings to maintain the status quo until a final decision is reached. 
  • Short-term alimony: Provides support for a spouse for a limited time after divorce, often to allow them to become self-sufficient. 
  • Long-term or indefinite alimony: This is rare and usually reserved for cases involving long marriages where one spouse cannot achieve self-sufficiency due to age, illness or other factors.

Myth 2: Alimony amounts are predetermined

Another misconception is that alimony amounts are predetermined or follow a strict formula. In reality, Maryland courts have broad discretion in determining alimony awards. 

They consider factors like: 

  • Agreements between the spouses
  • Standard of living experienced while married
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and needs

This discretionary approach allows courts to tailor alimony awards to the specific circumstances of each case.

Understanding Maryland alimony laws requires dispelling these common misconceptions. Alimony decisions are complex and depend heavily on the unique facts of each case. 


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