Paying Alimony from the Grave?

Maryland Family Law §11–108 states that alimony will terminate upon the death of either party, the marriage of the recipient or if the court finds that the termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result, UNLESS THE PARTIES HAVE AGREED OTHERWISE. In a recent matter in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Maryland a former wife sued her deceased Husband’s estate based upon the parties Separation Agreement (incorporated into the Judgment of Absolute Divorce) based upon a paragraph of which stated that alimony will continue until the death of the Wife. Husband’s attorney filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to have the former Wife’s claim dismissed. However the court declined to dismiss the matter based upon the parties signed Separation Agreement and Section 11-108. Husband’s estate (which in this case was in excess of $1,000,000.00) was liable for continued alimony payments to Wife until her death. Based upon actuarial data this amount was substantially close to the amount of the Estate and Husband’s will was effectively nullified. In Maryland it is imperative that each party to the divorce proceeding be represented by knowledgeable and experienced counsel so they may obtain accurate and effective representation.

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