Articles Posted in Alimony

When you decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement or a marital settlement agreement, there are several critical phases. There’s the phase where you and the other party negotiate the terms of the agreement, and you work to ensure that all the terms adequately protect your interests. There’s also the phase where you and the other party execute the agreement, and you work to ensure that the document you sign matches the bargain you struck during the negotiation phase. Finally, there may be a phase where you have to litigate to enforce the agreement and get the benefit of the contract you signed. At each of these phases, your chances of getting the fairest possible outcome can be enhanced by having legal representation from an experienced Maryland spousal support (alimony) lawyer.

That’s because, at any phase, things can go astray from what you wanted… and executed.

For example, there’s the alimony case of X.L. and H.L., a couple who, in March 2016, worked out a prenuptial agreement. In that document, both spouses agreed to waive the right to receive alimony in the event of separation or divorce. They married one month later.

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For most people, one of the biggest financial transitions we’ll make is from full-time employment to retirement. The move into retirement comes with many changes, and often involves a substantial reduction in income. When that happens, that reduction may entitle you to obtain a reduction in the amount of alimony you owe… or maybe even elimination of your entire remaining alimony obligation. A knowledgeable Maryland alimony lawyer can help guide you through the process and obtain a modification that is fair based on your new circumstances.

F.H. was one of those people. He planned to retire from work in early 2021 at the age of 71. He, however, remained obligated to pay his ex-wife $2,500 per month in indefinite alimony following a 2015 divorce. The husband, as a result, filed a motion with the court to get his indefinite alimony terminated.

In Maryland, getting your indefinite alimony terminated requires demonstrating several things to the court. For one thing, you have to show that there has been a “material change in circumstances that justify” the termination. This, by the way, can be a change on your end or your ex-spouse’s end. For example, if you become disabled and your post-disability income is a mere fraction of the $300,000 you were making as a physician, that might make termination justified. Alternately, if your spouse gets a new job making double what she did before, that might also be the sort of change of circumstances that justifies termination of your alimony obligation.

For many couples, separation agreements are very useful tools. If you go that route, it’s important to make sure that your separation agreement is sufficiently detailed in all areas. For example, with alimony, it’s not enough to say “how much” and “for how long,” but also to address things like “when may the supporting spouse seek modification?” An experienced Maryland divorce lawyer can help you with negotiating and executing an agreement that is fair, complete, and clear.

Of course, even once you’ve done that, there may be pitfalls. For example, what happens if your spouse, who owes you alimony, experiences a non-permanent downturn in his income? Often, a temporary dip in income is not enough to lead to a reduction in your alimony but it depends on the exact wording of your separation agreement. A knowledgeable legal advocate can be essential in protecting your right to receive alimony.

Take, for example, the alimony case of C.T., a successful anesthesiologist, and his wife, R.L. They separated in 2015 and, three years later, worked out a separation agreement. That document called for the husband to pay alimony of $6,000 per month for 47 months, and then pay a lesser sum for the next 88 months.

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For many ex-spouses who are also recipients of alimony as part of a Maryland divorce or annulment, that alimony money represents an important part of their monthly income. When it doesn’t come, the financial consequences can be serious. That’s why the law has processes set up to motivate your ex-spouse and hopefully expedite their paying you the unpaid sums you’re owed. If you’re not getting the alimony you should as part of your divorce or annulment, get in touch with a Maryland divorce lawyer right away.

Sometimes, these unpaid alimony arrearages can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Such was the case for one immigrant couple who settled in Montgomery County.

The husband and wife married in Egypt in 1976, then divorced in 1985. They remarried once again in 1986. Presumably unbeknownst to the wife, the husband had married another woman during the year-long divorce and remained married to her when he and the wife remarried.

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When, it comes to marriages, relationships, and divorces, some issues and situations are universal, as a recent divorce case from overseas demonstrates. Even though this court case came from India, much of the circumstances involved could easily have happened in Maryland. While those marital scenarios and pitfalls may be largely universal, the law definitely is not. The distinctions and differences between the law of one place versus another are a crucial reason why having an experienced Maryland divorce attorney on your side is essential when you are seeking to end your marriage in this state.

The Indian case, reported by CNBC TV18, involved a marriage that reportedly was troubled nearly from the start. The spouses became estranged “within a few months of marriage,” then one of the spouses met someone new and that pair began “staying together in a live-in relationship,” according to the report.

The new couple had many questions. Could they continue living together while the divorce was pending? Could they get married before the divorce judgment was finalized? According to Indian law, this Indian couple could continue living together, but they could not get married before the finalization of the divorce without placing the married partner in potential legal peril for bigamy.

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Failing to obtain experienced legal counsel is often a mistake in a divorce case, even if you and your spouse are seeking to resolve the matter by agreement. That’s especially true if your spouse has retained an attorney. Your skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can help you assess whether or not the agreement proposed to you is genuinely fair to you, and whether or not a judge might award you significantly more if you litigated the matter. Your attorney can also help you identify harmful provisions in the agreement that might be unenforceable under either Maryland family law or Maryland contract law.

Proceeding on your own, especially if your spouse has legal representation, can expose you to serious risks. Take, as an example, the divorce case of C.G. and K.G., a Maryland couple with no children who decided to end their decade-long marriage in 2018.

By early 2019, the couple had mutually worked out a marital settlement that divided their property.

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In many walks of life, it is said that “timing is everything.” In the law, timing isn’t everything, but it definitely can be a crucial thing. Get your timing wrong in carrying out some procedural step in your case and that incorrect timing may have disastrous consequences. This is just another one (among the countless) reasons why, when your divorce is going through the legal process, you need a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer from beginning to end.

As a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when your timing is not correct, there’s this recent divorce case that originated in Prince George’s County. The couple litigated their divorce in 2020 and, on Jan. 7, 2021, the judge granted an absolute divorce. The divorce judgment also covered the marital home (ordering the wife to transfer her interest to the husband,) child custody, and child support.

The judgment did not, however, say how much child support the wife was required to pay the husband each month.

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Most contested divorces are fact-intensive. They revolve around who did or didn’t do something, when a spouse purchased an asset (and what assets were used to make that purchase,) the amount of money a spouse did or did not earn, and so forth. However, issues of law can also impact your divorce case, and a substantial change in the law can significantly influence how your divorce case is litigated. That’s one of the many places where having an experienced and diligent Maryland divorce attorney can benefit you, as your legal advocate will be up on the new laws and what you’ll need to succeed.

One of the bigger changes in Maryland law in 2020 was not something specific to divorce law. Maryland’s highest court, in a ruling related to a personal injury case about lead paint exposure, announced that Maryland was adopting a new standard for deciding whether or not expert testimony is admissible. That standard, called the Daubert standard (based upon the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals) lays out several criteria a judge should use to decide whether an expert’s evidence should be admitted or excluded.

At this point, you may find yourself thinking, what does this have to do with my divorce case? Aren’t experts usually just a part of criminal cases, malpractice cases and personal injury lawsuits?

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Roughly 25 years ago, a popular musician had a successful song entitled “Ironic” that, in part, discussed life events that were really bad timing – like winning the lottery and dying the next day. Pop music aside, the reality is that, sometimes, major events in one’s life sometimes can have peculiar timing, such as receiving a large influx of wealth shortly after you divorce. This kind of scenario may find you fighting to keep all of your wealth, including keeping your ex-spouse from getting an upsized amount of alimony. When it comes to protecting your assets in a divorce, make sure you have a skilled Maryland divorce attorney by your side.

The divorce case of R.T. and M.T. was one of those situations. In the divorce, the couple agreed on many issues, but were far apart on alimony. The trial court ultimately ordered the husband to pay the wife $1,800 per month for 72 months as rehabilitative alimony.

A scant three days after the judge signed that order, the husband received a large year-end bonus from his employer in the amount of $73,195. As soon as she learned about the order, the wife went back to court seeking an order modifying alimony. The trial judge, however, denied the wife’s request to modify the alimony award and that denial was upheld on appeal.

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Divorce and divorce-related legal cases often involve deep-seated emotions. They are cases that intertwine the coldly legal and the intensely personal. Those truths can sometimes lead your ex-spouse to try to bring into your case things that, while perhaps important to him personally, are not important legally to resolution of the issue that brought you into court. When that happens, you need the skill and knowledge of an experienced Maryland family law attorney on your side to help you get those irrelevant things excluded from your case and, when necessary, placed under court seal.

E.O. was a Prince George’s County wife who had that kind of problem in her case. In 2018, E.O. and her husband received a divorce. The court also adjudicated issues of child custody, visitation, child support and alimony.

After the court issued the judgment of divorce, the spouses filed several post-judgment motions. On several of those, the husband included photographic “support” as attachments to his filings. Those photographs displayed dried blood stains within the couple’s home. The husband’s argument was that this blood was proof that E.O. had attempted to perform an “at-home abortion,” that this pregnancy and abortion were proof of E.O.’s adultery.

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