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When a marriage ends in Maryland, the court may order one spouse to financially provide for the other spouse until he or she becomes self-sufficient. Depending on the couple’s economic situation and other partners, either former spouse can potentially receive alimony. 

Read on to learn more about requesting and paying spousal support in Maryland. 

Types of spousal support 

Maryland state law recognizes three types of spousal support: 

  • Alimony pendente lite, which lasts only from the initial alimony request during divorce proceedings to the final divorce decree. The court will order this payment to maintain the standard of living during the marriage, but it does not indicate that the person will receive additional spousal support. 
  • Indefinite alimony has no established end date. Maryland courts rarely award indefinite alimony, which generally applies only in cases in which one spouse cannot work because of a disability, chronic health condition or age. Sometimes, the judge awards this type of alimony if one spouse earns significantly more money and has a much higher standard of living than the other spouse. 
  • Rehabilitative alimony, the most common arrangement, supports one spouse while he or she pursues an education or job training program and becomes self-sufficient. The judge uses his or her discretion as to the time limit, which is usually less than 10 years. 

The alimony process 

An individual must request alimony before the final divorce decree. If an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement includes provisions for spousal support, the court will typically abide by those provisions.  

The court will consider the requesting person’s age, health status, ability to work and standard of living during the marriage, as well as the income and expenses of both parties. The amount of alimony varies by situation and is usually tax-deductible for the person paying alimony and taxable as income for the person receiving alimony. If circumstances change, the spouse paying alimony can request a change or cancellation through the court.