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Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Alimony & Shorter Marriages

Written by Amar Weisman » November 20, 2015 »

Individuals who are going through a divorce are often faced with many issues that must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. These issues can range from visitation (if there are kids involved) to alimony payments, depending on the circumstances. 

Many people assume that when it comes to alimony, the length of time that alimony must be paid is usually not longer than the length of the actual marriage.  But in Maryland, is that really the case?  One Maryland case dealt with that question, among others. Let’s take a brief look at Malin v. Mininberg.

What Happened in Malin v. Mininberg?

Murray Malin, who was an anesthesiologist, was married to Marcie Mininberg.  Mininberg had attended law school; however, she did not pass the bar and ultimately ended up working at a jewelry store. During the relationship, Malin and Mininberg had one child; however, they decided to end their marriage after three years. At the time of the trial, Malin was no longer a practicing doctor, as he had become addicted to drugs.

The lower court handling the case awarded Mininberg $3,500 per month of non-taxable alimony for a period of five years. Malin appealed the decision based on a number of arguments, two of which were that the court could not award alimony for a period that was longer than the actual marriage and the court could not award non-taxable alimony.

The Court of Special Appeals in Maryland agreed with Malin’s argument with respect to the non-taxable alimony issue, noting that the court can only award taxable alimony. However, divorcing parties can seek to make alimony payments non-taxable -- but only by a written agreement made amongst themselves.

With regard to the length of time alimony can be awarded, the Court noted that there was no law in Maryland against awarding alimony that lasts longer than the marriage at issue.

The Purpose of Alimony

In general, the purpose of alimony is to give its recipient a chance to become self-sufficient and self-supporting. Typically, when alimony is awarded, it’s usually for a limited amount of time that will permit the dependent spouse to get back on his or her feet. It is important to note that alimony can only be awarded prior to the severance of the marital relationship. Simply put -- if you fail to make a claim for alimony as part of the divorce proceeding, you will not be allowed to come back at a later date once the marriage has ended to make such a claim.

For couples who reach their own agreement with respect to alimony, the court will likely be bound by that signed agreement and will not be able to change it during the divorce proceeding. Individuals should also be aware that there are several types of alimony.

Alimony pendente lite is alimony that is awarded for a period that spans from the time you make the request for alimony through the time it takes for the divorce to become final.

Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type of alimony awarded and is usually subject to a certain goal that is to be reached within a certain timeframe. However, as you can see from the case discussed above, the length of time will vary, depending on the specifics of the case.

Indefinite alimony is rare in Cockeysville and Maryland, as it generally has no specific end date. There are a few reasons why such alimony may be granted, though, including an inability to reasonably be able to care for him- or herself or your ex’s standard of living is “unconscionably disparate” from yours, such that there is a huge and unfair difference between the two standards of living.

If you would like to find out more about alimony, contact a Towson divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC as soon as possible.

Call For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore & Towson Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.