The end of a marriage has the potential to change every aspect of your life. In many cases, you have formerly relied upon a spouse to provide economic support for yourself or your children. A very lone time ago, courts in Bethesda recognized the fact that women rarely worked outside the home and as a result, women came to expect spousal support in the form of alimony. This is not the norm any longer.
Times have thankfully changed. Courts no longer place a preference on women when considering the question of spousal support or even of custody for that matter. Either party to a divorce can now motion a court to grant an order for alimony, and the asking party’s gender is not a factor in the court’s decision.
A seasoned Bethesda spousal support lawyer could help you to understand the state’s laws concerning spousal support. A dedicated family law attorney could also work to file formal requests for these payments or to make arguments as to why these payments are inappropriate.
The Purpose of a Spousal Support Order
A core tenant for all divorce cases is placing both ex-spouses on an equitable footing moving towards becoming self-supporting. The court will go to great lengths to make an equitable distribution of assets and liabilities in an effort to leave both spouses in an equitable economic position.
However, there are some situations where this is simply impossible. The classic example is where one spouse is the only one bringing income into the home, and the other suddenly finds themselves in the position of needing to earn a living.
A spousal support order, also known as alimony, can provide a way for the dependent spouse to survive financially while they continue their education, attends job training, or looks for a full-time employment opportunity. A skilled Bethesda spousal support attorney could help people to understand the purposes of spousal support and when an order may be appropriate.
The Legal Basis for Spousal Support in Bethesda
Maryland Code, Family Law §11-101 states that Bethesda family courts will never assume that a spousal support order will result from a divorce. Instead, this statute allows either party to petition the court to issue such an order.
The court considers a multitude of factors when deciding whether a support order is appropriate. Under Md. Code, Family Law §11-106, these factors include:
- The ability of the moving party to earn a living
- The length of the marriage
- The age of the parties
- The health of the parties
- The contributions of each party to the marriage
- How prepared the moving party is to enter the workforce
A court may issue a spousal support order for a set amount and for a pre-determined period of time. However, the presence of a spousal support order does not mean that a person cannot ask the court for a modification. Under Md. Code, Family Law §11-107(a), courts have the authority to extend an order of alimony if “…circumstances arise that would lead to a harsh and inequitable result and the recipient petitions for an extension.”
In other words, a significant change in circumstances such as the receiving spouse getting a job, or even a payor losing a job may serve as the basis to request a modification of a spousal support order. A knowledgeable spousal support lawyer in Bethesda could help to fight for the establishment of alimony orders or to change any existing plans.
Speak to a Bethesda Spousal Support Attorney Today
Enduring a divorce is always a time of great change. A person who is used to relying on a spouse for economic support may quickly find themselves in a difficult monetary position following a divorce. In these scenarios, a party to a divorce may ask the court to issue a spousal support order, also known as alimony.
Alimony is available to either party in a divorce regardless of gender. The court will examine the economic equality between the two parties and evaluate the ability of the moving party to care for their own needs following the separation. A steadfast Bethesda spousal support lawyer could help to work towards a fair spousal support order for both parties.
They could also help to ask a court to modify an existing order in case of a significant change in circumstances. Contact a legal representative today to schedule a consultation.