Under Maryland Divorce law, courts are reluctant to give alimony on a permanent basis. Rehabilitative or short term alimony is more typical when alimony is awarded. The term will be 2 to 7 years depending on the need and income disparity between the parties. Many economically dependent spouses (typically the home maker/primary care giver) may desire to remain in the family home. Although the court can grant up to 3 years use and possession if minor children are at home, the marital home is ultimately sold. In negotiations during a pre-trial settlement the offer to relinquish one spouses financial interest in the home in exchange for no or reduced alimony may be offered. Although this may appeal to the emotions of the dependent spouse, it can create problems "down the road". Many issues are at play in this offer. Alimony is taxable so the receiving spouse should consider the tax ramification of an alimony payment. Additionally, alimony is considered income for child support purposes, so it may reduce the amount of child support received. Depending on tax bracket and number of children, the tax liability and reduction of child support may enhance the offer to accept the house instead of alimony. It is important to speak with a lawyer with significant experience in Maryland divorce law so that you are fully aware of all ramifications of any offer "take the house".
Nicholas T. ExarhakisBy