Not every divorce will result in one party having to pay support to his or her former spouse. There are limited circumstances in which a court will grant a petition for spousal support.
People who are seeking a divorce in Maryland should not conclude that they will automatically have to sacrifice half of their income to support a former spouse. Many different variables affect whether someone will be eligible to receive support.
One of the most important factors affecting spousal support is an individual’s ability to pay basic living expenses. A court will consider someone’s current employment status, education, and professional experience.
Comparative standards of living
Courts may grant support because there will be a significant disparity in the living situations of both parties. The goal of an order may be to make a person’s standard of living comparable to how it was during the marriage.
Length of a marriage
A long marriage is much more likely to merit an order of spousal support than a relatively short marriage. If a marriage did not last very long, spouses were unlikely to be financially dependent on one another.
Division of assets
Typically, courts settle the division of marital property before granting spousal support, although they may issue a temporary order in the interim. The value of assets that each spouse receives could influence whether someone will receive support.
Ultimately, there is no single formulaic approach to granting spousal support. Courts apply many of the same principals when they hear cases, but they evaluate the unique situation of each couple when issuing a ruling.