A News Consumer World — 06 January 2015

DSC04155-BAlimony is a recurring payment from one spouse to another. Alimony is usually “rehabilitative,” in that it gives a spouse a set amount of time to get back on her or his feet and become self-supporting. And, at the end of the timeframe, alimony payments cease.

As this viral video of Ed Smith shows, there can be some pretty big (and funny) celebrations when that final payment is made.

But what about alimony that has no defined end? In Maryland, alimony can be indefinite, meaning there is no defined end to payments.

“Indefinite alimony is still alive in Maryland under certain circumstances,” said Alan Fishbein, a family law attorney who practices in Ellicott City, Maryland.

“The recent case of Bryant v. Bryant, released by the Court of Special Appeals on October 30, 2014, demonstrates the viability of indefinite alimony.  In Bryant the husband’s income was above $1,000,000 and the wife’s income was approximately $100,000.  The Court of Special Appeals reviewed the twelve factors in Maryland Family Law Article section 11-106(b),” Fishbein said.

Fishbein went on to state, “The Court noted that a mathematical disparity alone does not mandate permanent alimony but that the 11-106(b) factors must be considered.  These factors are as follows:

  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 the 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 non-monetary 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 parties’ needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony.
  10. Any agreement between the parties.
  11. A) The financial needs and financial resources of each party including all income and assets including property that does not produce income. B) Any award made under sections 8-205 and 8-208 of the family law article relating to a monetary award made and any award of use and possession of the family home and family use personal property respectfully. C)  The nature and the amount of the financial obligations of each party.
  12. The right of each party to receive retirement benefits.”

Fishbein explained that, “In Bryant the Court noted that the parties lived a high standard of living.  The husband had large undocumented claimed expenses prior to the trial which he was unable to explain and the husband’s conduct had largely destroyed the marriage.  The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the indefinite alimony award based on the above factors and concluded that the husband’s claim that the trial court awarded alimony as a punitive measure was without merit.”

Depending on the circumstances, indefinite alimony is still alive in Maryland.

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Doug Lynch

Doug is a career communications professional and writer. He enjoys writing about technology (he holds 6 US Patents), politics and sports.

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