When you’re going through a divorce, there are many things that may concern you, especially if you make a substantially larger income than your spouse. Obviously, one of those things is your spouse seeking alimony for a long duration, perhaps even indefinite alimony. However, there are some things you can do that will limit the amount of alimony the judge will order – or perhaps even allow you to avoid an alimony obligation entirely. To best protect yourself from an excessively large alimony obligation, be sure you have representation from an experienced Maryland family law attorney every step of the way.
A recent case involving a Montgomery County couple shows the way one wife achieved this goal. The wife was a medical doctor employed by the FDA, making around $180,000-200,000 per year. The husband never made even ½ that amount and, at the time of the couple’s divorce, alleged that he made “a mere $30,000” per year. The husband alleged that he had made multiple attempts to secure full-time employment, but had failed each time. He also asserted that his monthly expenses exceeded what he was making by several thousand dollars per month.
Based on those numbers, you might expect that the husband would receive a significant amount of alimony, mightn’t you? However, in this case, the trial judge ordered the wife to pay zero in alimony and that ruling stood up on appeal. How did the wife achieve this success? She did it by producing her own evidence that cast doubt on the credibility of the story that the husband provided to the courts.
The evidence showed that the husband was still making roughly $50,000 per year at his home-based start-up business until the couple split, but he voluntarily shut down that business after the couple separated. This potentially cast doubt upon the idea that $30,000 was the most the husband was capable of making.
Also in the wife’s favor, there was evidence that the husband went on “numerous trips, including vacations, costing thousands of dollars.” Additionally, the husband’s financial statement supporting his claim of a large monthly deficit did not reflect certain sources of income, including from an IRA. These things further harmed the credibility of the husband’s case, creating the possibility that he was not as impoverished as his testimony indicated.
It’s not just the proof you have, but also the holes in your spouse’s case
On top of that, the evidence that is not present at your trial can also help. In this case, the husband alleged that he had applied for a very large number of full-time jobs, but had received no offers of employment. As the trial judge noted in her ruling, though, the evidence in the case contained zero “emails, cover letters, responses, resumes, etc.” that would back up his assertion of these applications.
What all of that, put together, meant was that the wife had a persuasive case and the husband didn’t. As a result, the judge decided that the wife’s proof was credible and the husband’s evidence was not, and this was the basis for awarding the husband zero alimony.
Winning your alimony dispute is not easy, but it can be straightforward. If your proof is more believable and persuasive than your spouse’s, then you are likely to realize a favorable result. To help you achieve that end, talk to skilled Maryland family law attorney Anthony A. Fatemi, who has been effectively representing spouses in Maryland alimony cases for many years. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.