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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Archive for April, 2014

Maryland Alimony Factor #2

Monday, April 28th, 2014

In order to make a fair and equitable alimony award, the divorce court judge must look at all the factors necessary, including the following:

(2) the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment.

Employment is not required, however, if a party is already self-supporting. Mrs. Hull was almost 61 years old and her husband was 66 at the time of their divorce. The wife never worked during the marriage and the husband was retired from the CIA. The parties had both inherited funds and when they sold their home, they each had assets of over one million dollars.

The trial judge found that both parties were self-supporting and therefore no alimony was required. The wife appealed and the appeals court affirmed the ruling of the trial court.

Hull v. Hull, 83 Md. App. 218; 574 A.2d 20 (1990)

The Indefinite Alimony Exceptions

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Since 1980 the law in Maryland has favored rehabilitative alimony over indefinite alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is for a fixed period. Indefinite alimony is until one of the parties dies or the party receiving alimony remarries.

The purpose of alimony is to make a person self-sufficient and not to award a life- time pension. Nevertheless, the legislature has recognized two exceptions where indefinite alimony might be appropriate.

The first is where the dependent spouse cannot become self-sufficient due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability.

The second is where there will be an unconscionable disparity in the standard of living of the parties after the divorce.

Section 11-106(c) of the Family Law Article, Maryland Code.

The Alimony Factors

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Section 11-106 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code requires the court to consider certain factors in determining the amount and duration of alimony.  This next series will take a look at the factors one by one.

Alimony Factor #1.  The ability of the party seeking alimony to be partly or wholly self-supporting.

Alimony Before 1980.

Alimony originally was awarded on a permanent basis to a financially dependent spouse who was not at fault for the destruction of the marriage.  The thought was that the financially dependent spouse ought to be able to continue with the same standard of living to which that spouse had become accustomed during the marriage, provided the other party could afford it.  Alimony could be modified in the event of a change in circumstances but basically lasted until one of the parties died or the party receiving alimony remarried.

Alimony Today.

The Governor’s Commission on Domestic Relations Report dated January 18, 1980, changed the concept of alimony in Maryland.  New alimony laws were adopted at sections 11-106 and 11-107 of the Family Law Article.

The court in Holstein v. Holstein described it like this:

Under the present statute, the principal function of alimony is rehabilitation. Thus, when awarding alimony, the chancellor is required to consider not only those factors relating to the financial situation, age and health of each party, their standards of living, the duration of marriage and the contribution of each party to its well being but also the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partially self-supporting and the time deemed necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment. It is apparent, therefore, that the concept of  alimony as a lifetime pension enabling the financially dependent spouse to maintain an accustomed standard of living has largely been superseded by the concept that the economically dependent spouse should be required to become self-supporting, even though that might result in a reduced standard of living.

There are two exceptions when indefinite alimony should be awarded.  These will be discussed in my next post.

Texter Beware

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Louis J. Billittier Jr. bought a diamond engagement ring for his fiancé. It was almost 3 carats and it cost him over $50,000.

Then he broke off the engagement by text message. And he followed it up with another one, possibly trying to calm her down, which he now wishes he had never sent.

He said, “Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house.”

Under New York law, the man usually gets the engagement ring back if there is no wedding. But when Louis decided he wanted the ring back, Judge Russell P. Busglia found “The text messages … have persuaded this court that it is highly probable that a valid gift was given to her after the engagement was terminated.” She gets to keep the ring.

 
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