Annapolis Spousal Support Lawyer

Fighting for you and your financial future.

CONTACT PATRICK TODAY

Alimony Attorney in Annapolis

Alimony is something that is often requested by one party in divorce cases. Alimony is spousal support, or payments of money that one party makes to another after a divorce in order to assist the recipient to become self-supporting or to maintain a certain standard of living. Alimony is usually awarded at the end of the case as a result of a trial or an agreement between the parties.

In general, alimony falls into three main categories.

Do not try to represent yourself.

In any case in which alimony is in dispute, a party that attempts to represent himself or herself without an attorney is taking a huge risk. That party will likely make a less persuasive case and receive a less favorable alimony outcome than otherwise. After the process is completed, an unrepresented party will likely wonder if a better outcome could have been obtained with an attorney. He or she may later hire an attorney and spend years and substantial attorney fees attempting to modify alimony.

Having an experienced attorney from the start is extremely important. Only an attorney has the necessary understanding of the law and the court process. An attorney will guide you through the process, advocate for you at every opportunity, and make a forceful case for you at trial if necessary. When the process ends, you will likely have peace of mind and a much better result.

Hire a skilled and aggressive attorney.

Patrick is not like other alimony attorneys. Patrick has a boutique legal practice in which he provides high quality service to a small number of clients. His practice is small, and that is how he likes it. He is the only attorney in his office. Having a small practice allows Patrick to provide a highly personalized service in which he gets to know each client and delivers representation that is tailored to achieve that client’s unique goals. He has spent the last 14 years handling divorce cases, many of which involved alimony disputes. He has represented his clients in all stages of their cases, including settlement, trial, and appeal. He is aggressive while also being careful to avoid wasteful efforts and strategies that usually serve only to increase the client’s legal fees. Patrick directs his efforts in a focused and intelligent way on things that are most important to the client and that are calculated to bring results. He invites his clients to participate meaningfully in setting the case direction, he is friendly, and he is responsive.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is alimony that is ordered for a fixed period of time in order to help one party obtain education or training that will enable that party to become self-supporting. It is common in situations in which one party was a stay-at-home parent or otherwise lost the ability to be self-supporting. Rehabilitative alimony is most common when parties are relatively young and healthy and still in a position to return to school or search for employment. Rehabilitative alimony is more common than indefinite alimony.

Indefinite Alimony

Indefinite alimony, on the other hand, is alimony that is ordered for an indefinite period of time. It is ordered without regard to whether the party needs it to become self-supporting. It is ordered to equalize the parties’ post-divorce standards of living when the court finds that, even if both parties are self-supporting, their respective standards of living would be unfairly unequal. Indefinite alimony is not intended to make the parties’ incomes exactly equal but only to bring them closer. Indefinite alimony is less common than rehabilitative alimony.

Pendente Lite Alimony

Often a party has an immediate need for alimony and cannot wait until the end of a year-long divorce case in order to start receiving it. In these situations, the party can ask the court to order pendente lite, or temporary, alimony. “Pendente lite” is a Latin term that means “pending litigation”. Pendente lite alimony covers only the period of time in which the divorce case is pending. If a party makes such a request, the court will schedule a short pendente lite alimony hearing. To prove that a party is entitled to pendente lite alimony, the court does not require that such party show all of the same evidence that must be shown for rehabilitative or indefinite alimony, which is described below. Instead, that party must show only that such party needs it and that the other party can pay it.

Modification or Termination of Alimony

Circumstances exist in which alimony can be modified or even terminated. Alimony typically ends if the recipient re-marries. In addition, alimony is often modifiable as a result of changed circumstances. Alimony often may end or be modified if a substantial change in circumstances occurs such that justice requires that it be modified or terminated. However, in these cases, modification or termination is not automatic. In order to modify or terminate alimony, one party must ask the court to do so. Such request will result in a further court proceeding. If the parties are unable to agree on the modification or termination, the court will hold a trial in order to decide the outcome.

Calculation of Alimony

No formula exists that the court must use to calculate either the amount or the length of time that one party must pay alimony. Instead, the court is free to determine the alimony amount and duration based on what it believes is fair. Predicting how the court will decide alimony is difficult because some judges award alimony reluctantly and others more freely.

When making its decision regarding alimony, the court must consider a long list of factors. Such factors include:

  • The ability of the party seeking alimony to be self-supporting.
  • The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment.
  • The standard of living that the parties established during their marriage.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The contributions of each of the party to the well-being of the family.
  • The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.
  • The age of each party.
  • The physical and mental condition of each party.
  • The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to pay alimony.
  • Any agreement between the parties.
  • The financial needs and resources of each party.

Discovery

In any divorce case involving alimony, both parties have the right to conduct discovery. Discovery is the process of compelling the other party to provide information that may help one’s case. Discovery can occur in several different ways, including with interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions. Discovery can also include obtaining documents from outside sources like employers and financial institutions. Discovery can sometimes uncover information that the other party is trying to hide. In cases involving alimony, discovery is extremely important because a lot of detailed information is required in order to make a persuasive case to the court.

Contempt of Court

When the court orders alimony and the other party fails to pay it, then, in order to enforce the alimony payments, the recipient party may file a petition for contempt of court. Contempt of court is a finding that a party was court ordered to do something and failed to do it. When the court orders that a party is in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony, it will continue to hold them in contempt until they “purge” the contempt. In addition to requiring that they purge the contempt, the court may also impose other penalties. Such penalties may include paying the other party’s attorney fees.

Attorney Fees

In any alimony case, multiple opportunities exist for either party to request that the court order the other party to pay some or all of that party’s attorney fees. Often a party has an immediate need for attorney fees and cannot wait until the end of a long case in order to receive it. In this case the party may request pendente lite attorney fees. Or the party may choose to make the request at the end of the case. In either situation, the court will decide whether it is fair to grant such request based on multiple factors. The main factors include:

  • Whether the requesting party had a good-faith basis for pursuing his or her case.
  • Whether the requesting party needs assistance paying for his or her attorney.
  • Whether the other party has the ability to pay.

Alimony cases are complicated.

Alimony cases are complicated. For each of the above factors that the court uses to calculate alimony, the parties must make a persuasive case as to why that factor favors them and not the other party. Making a persuasive case as to each of these factors requires an enormous amount of work and organization. An experienced Annapolis Spousal Support Lawyer is usually necessary in order to make such a case.

Contact Patrick Crawford today.

Regardless of how complex your alimony case is, Patrick is ready and eager to provide you with aggressive and personalized representation. He will discuss your goals with you and work tirelessly to secure a bright post-divorce future for you. Contact him today.

How Can Patrick Help You?

Tell him about your legal issue and he will get back to you promptly.

He Respects Your Privacy. Privacy Policy

Practice Areas

Putting Personalized Care Towards Every Case He Handle

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

CALL (410) 216-7905