It used to be that the law and society as a whole assumed that the man in marriage was the bread-winner for the family. The law looked at divorcing women as being unable to fend for themselves and thus created the concept of alimony.
Also known as spousal support, alimony is intended to place both parties to a divorce on equal financial standing at the end of a marriage. However, the law no longer assumes that a wife will now be the recipient of spousal support. With many households now bringing in two incomes, many divorces reject the idea of alimony altogether. When alimony still applies, there is no preference for people of either gender.
A Montgomery County spousal support lawyer could help you to fight to establish a spousal support order at the end of a marriage. A well-versed family law attorney can also help to bring complaints against former spouses who have not properly paid or to defend you against these sorts of allegations.
Spousal Support and the Law
Courts may order a former spouse to pay alimony at almost any time. Md. Code, Family Law §11-101 states that courts can hear petitions on the matter of alimony during a divorce case, an annulment, or when one former spouse asks for it. Alimony is not a punishment to a spouse whose behavior has led to a motion for divorce. Indeed Md. Code, Family Law §11-103 specifically states that the existence of a grounds for divorce does not automatically bar a spouse from seeking alimony.
Instead, alimony is a tool used by family courts to make both sides financially even after the end of a marriage. Under Md. Code, Family Law §11-106, the court will examine a collection of non-exclusive factors including:
- The ability of the moving party to be self-sufficient
- Any time needed for a moving party to find employment
- The duration of the marriage
- The age of each party
- The physical and mental condition of each party
- The contributions of each party to the marriage
- The financial needs and resources of each party
This determination does not consider the gender of either party. The court can award spousal support for any period of time or even for an indefinite length. A MoCo lawyer could work to help people to understand the alimony laws and how they may affect their pursuit of spousal support.
Options for Enforcement
The State’s family courts have the power to order a former spouse to provide spousal support. They also have the authority to take legal action to enforce those orders. According to Md. Code, Family Law §10-123, a court may take the step to automatically withhold earnings from a payors salary in order to fulfill an obligation.
Further, Md. Code, Family Law §10-102 allows a court to hold any payor who is in arrears in contempt of court. This could result in a variety of civil penalties such as placing a lien on property, suspending a driver’s license, or placing a mark on a payor’s credit report. If this fails to change a payor’s behavior, the court can even incarcerate someone for non-payment of court ordered support.
A Montgomery County attorney could help to file contempt complaints in family court that allege non-payment of spousal support. They could help to prevent evidence of a failure to pay and attend hearings to push for enforcement. Alternatively, a lawyer could also help ex-spouses facing allegations of failure to pay. They can help avoid punitive actions such as incarceration.
Let a Montgomery County Spousal Support Attorney Assist You
The payment of spousal support, or alimony, is intended to place both parties on equal footing following a divorce. While the court will examine many circumstances in making this decision, including the ability of each party to earn a living and the general welfare of both, gone are the days where a woman could expect alimony payments.
Still, many parties to divorce are prime candidates for alimony. They may not have been the primary earner in the marriage and may need some time to get back on their feet. If this is the case, you may have a solid case for spousal support.
A Montgomery County spousal support lawyer could help you to present a powerful case in court to demand alimony payments. They could also help payors to present evidence to rebut any allegations of non-payment. Contact a MoCo attorney today to make an appointment.