It is often difficult to advise clients as to whether they will receive or will be required to pay alimony. In determining whether a party will be awarded alimony, the court is required to consider the following factors:
- the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
- the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient 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, monetary and non-monetary, of each 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 meet that party's needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
- any agreement between the parties;
- the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including: (i) all income and assets, including property that does not produce income; (ii) any award made under §§ 8-205 and 8-208 of this article; (iii) the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and (iv) the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
- whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in § 19-301 of the Health-General Article and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.
- Award for indefinite period.- The court may award alimony for an indefinite period, if the court finds that: (1) due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, the party seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-supporting; or (2) even after the party seeking alimony will have made as much progress toward becoming self-supporting as can reasonably be expected, the respective standards of living of the parties will be unconscionably disparate.
The court has given some rough guidelines in the past: If the income ratio is 2 to 1 then you are more likely to receive "rehabilitative" alimony; meaning for a limited time. If the income ratio is 3 to 1 then you are more likely to receive indefinite alimony.