Alimony and Property Division

Either party may claim alimony from the other based upon a great variety of factors that affect the equities of the claim, such as the parties' respective incomes, needs and resources.  Although the circumstances that led to the parties' estrangement are considered by the court, adultery or other fault does not automatically preclude or ensure an award of alimony.  Alimony may be awarded for a specific or limited period of time, as a rehabilitative measure, or in more exceptional situations where a party cannot become self-supporting or the parties' incomes will be unconscionably disparate the court may make the alimony award of indefinite duration.

Regarding property, unless the parties come to an agreement, the court may enter a monetary award in the form of a dollar judgment against one spouse and in favor of the other, based upon a valuation of marital property and how it is titled between the parties at the time of divorce. Marital property includes money and property acquired during the marriage, however titled, but not gifts and inheritances, or property directly traceable to a gift or inheritance.  At the time of divorce, the court will ask the parties to itemize all of their marital property, and to indicate which party owns what property.  The court will then decide whether to leave the parties' holdings as they are, make a monetary award of dollars payable from one spouse to the other, and whether to re-allocate pension and retirement accounts between the divorcing parties, to fashion a more equitable distribution of the parties' property interests.  In addition to entering a monetary award, and re-allocating pension and retirement accounts, the court has the power to order the sale of jointly-titled property, including a home, and distribute the sales proceeds, and also may order a spouse-to-spouse transfer or sale of the parties' former principal residence and family use property, on terms set by the court.

The tracing of the sources of assets, their valuation, and their equitable distribution, are often difficult and complex issues to prove and resolve in contested cases, and the court has wide discretion to fashion relief to accomplish what the court determines is equitable.

Maxwell Barke & Zuckerman LLC
51 Monroe Place, Suite 806, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Telephone 301.309.8300   Telecopier 301.309.8303
Adjacent to Montgomery County Courthouse  |  Across from Rockville Metro Station