Notwithstanding that Maryland the statutory scheme favors fixed term rehabilitative alimony rather than indefinite alimony, indefinite alimony is still alive in Maryland under certain circumstances. The recent case of Bryant v. Bryant, released by the Court of Special Appeals on October 30, 2014 demonstrates the viability of indefinite alimony under certain circumstances. InBryant the husband’s income was above One Million Dollars and the wife’s income was approximately One Hundred Thousand Dollars. The Court of Special Appeals in affirming the trial court’s award of indefinite alimony reviewed the twelve factors set forth in Maryland Family Law Article section 11-106(b). The Court noted that a mathematical disparity alone does not mandate permanent alimony but that the 11-106(b) factors must be considered. These factors are as follows:
- 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 the 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 parties’ needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony.
- Any agreement between the parties.
- A) The financial needs and financial resources of each party including all income and assets including property that does not produce income. B) Any award made under sections 8-205 and 8-208 of the family law article relating to a monetary award made and any award of use and possession of the family home and family use personal property respectfully. C) The nature and the amount of the financial obligations of each party.
- The right of each party to receive retirement benefits.
In Bryant the Court noted that the parties lived a high standard of living. The husband had large undocumented claimed expenses prior to the trial which he was unable to explain and the husband’s conduct had largely destroyed the marriage. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the indefinite alimony award based on the above factors and concluded that the husband’s claim that the trial court awarded alimony as a punitive measure was without merit.
Thus under the right set of circumstances indefinite alimony is still available in Maryland.