Your success in a claim for alimony depends on a wide range of factors. This Quiz gives you a rough idea of your chances for success. Remember, this is a complex issue and the Quiz will only provide a guide post.

How long have you been married?  Select a range.

The court will consider your age.  Select a range.
Calculate the Difference in Your Incomes
Will you need time to go back to school or to take training that will allow you to find a suitable job?
Will your ex-spouse be able to support him/herself and pay alimony also? (Be realistic)
After the divorce, will your standard of living be much lower than it was during your marriage? Some advice if you answered yes
Were your contributions to the family (money or otherwise) substantially greater than your spouse's?
Do you have a physical or mental impairment?
Was there an agreement between you about alimony?  Some advice if you answered yes
Will your spouse qualify for a pension?  More information on pensions.
Is the divorce a result of your desertion, adultery, or other misconduct?  Some advice if you answered yes.
Is the divorce a result of your spouse’s desertion, adultery, or other marital misconduct? Some advice if you answered yes.

        Points:   


Scores:

If you received a total score of 12 or less:

The chances being successful in a claim for alimony are small. However if you scored high on Part One (over 7 points), it may be useful to consult an attorney for a individual assessment. Representing yourself in a divorce may be a good idea. Make sure you complete the property quiz, the self-representation checklist and the self-quiz on traits/skills for successful representation for more help.

If you received a total score of 13 to 19:

It makes sense to at least speak to an attorney for advice on whether or not your claim for alimony is strong enough to pursue. Your responses indicate that you might have a claim and an individual assessment of your situation will be helpful.

If you might be eligible for alimony, it is very important to at least consult an attorney about your chances of being successful in a claim for alimony. If you do not make the claim now as part of your Maryland divorce, you will never be able to change your mind and go back to the court and ask for alimony (based on this marriage) in the future.

An attorney can give you a good idea (although no promises) about how a court might consider your case. Your attorney will ask you questions about the many factors that the court will consider (including these factors and the others listed in this quiz). S/he can then advise you about the costs and likely outcomes if you pursue a claim for alimony.

If you received a total score of 20 or over:

You should contact an attorney for a consultation.

Your responses indicate that you may have a good claim for alimony (particularly if you scored 11 or over in Part One) and you should contact an attorney to assess your individual situation. A high score in Part One may indicate a good chance that you could get " indefinite alimony". Otherwise, you may have a better chance for " rehabilitative alimony", which is much more common. If you might be eligible for alimony, it is very important to at least consult an attorney about your chances. If you do not make the claim now as part of your Maryland divorce, you will never be able to change your mind and go back to the court and ask for alimony (based on this marriage) in the future.

An attorney can give you a good idea (although no promises) about how a court might consider your case. Your attorney will ask you questions about the many factors that the court will consider (including these factors and the others listed in this quiz). S/he can then advise you about the costs and likely outcomes if you pursue a claim for alimony.


Read this if you answered "YES" to the question on your standard of living:

Using an alimony award to reduce or eliminate a post-divorce difference in the standard of living between ex-spouses is a complicated question. For individualized advice, see an attorney. However, there is some guidance that will help you to understand how the law may be applied in general. As long as the dependent spouse is able to become self-supporting, a lower living standard for the poorer spouse is very possible. The main objective of the Maryland law is to rehabilitate (or make self-supporting) the dependent spouse, rather than to equalize the post-divorce living standards. An exception to this general rule is how the law will consider living standards that are “unconscionably disparate”. “Unconscionably disparate” means that the difference in living standards is extremely unfair. When the difference in living standards is extremely unfair, there is a greater chance that the court might award “indefinite “ alimony. Even though the dependent spouse is not normally entitled to have the same standard of living, the court may award alimony in certain extremely unfair situations. See the answers to Part One of the Quiz for a review of how some courts have looked at this question. Remember that the decision is not easy to predict because each situation is decided on a case-by-case basis and the trial court (court where the decision is first made) has great discretion. This means that situations that appear to be similar may have very different outcomes.

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Read this if you answered "YES" to the agreement on Alimony question:

An alimony agreement between spouses which may include payment for joint obligations, such as real property taxes and mortgages, can and should be made part of the divorce, if you are satisfied with the terms. This is particularly important if the agreement is broader than what a court may order. A court can only order periodic monetary payments, unless there is an agreement. If you have concerns about an existing agreement or if you are satisfied and want it to be incorporated with the divorce decree, you should contact an attorney for advice and perhaps representation.

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Read this for more information on the pension question:

This is one of the most overlooked possible assets of a marriage. If you make a claim for the pension, this will have an effect on any alimony award. You may find that you do not pursue a claim for alimony but instead make a claim for a payment under your spouse’s pension.

  • Does your spouse currently have a pension plan with his/her employer?
  • Does your spouse have a pension plan with a former employer?
  • Does (or has) your spouse worked for:
    • the federal government?
    • the state government ?
    • a county or local municipality?
    • a school system?
    • a unionized employer?
    • the military?

If you answered yes to one of the above, you should seek advice about a possible right to a share of your spouse’s pension.

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Read this if you answered "YES" to your misconduct causing the divorce:

These behaviors will be taken into account in the court’s consideration of your claim for alimony. The existence of these problems is likely to have an impact on your chances of receiving alimony. However, the fact that you may be "at fault" in the divorce does not mean that you cannot receive alimony. This is only one factor to be considered. You can receive alimony even if the divorce is more "your fault" if your circumstances under the other factors will support a fair claim for alimony. An attorney’s advice and/or representation will be helpful in assessing and pursuing your claim.

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Read this is you answered "YES" to your spouse's misconduct being the reason for divorce:

These behaviors will be taken into account in the court’s consideration of your claim for alimony. The existence of these problems will increase the chances of your receiving alimony (there is no guarantee). An attorney’s advice and/or representation will be helpful in assessing and pursuing your claim. If there was abuse in your relationship and you are concerned about making a claim for alimony due to fear of your spouse, an attorney will be able to assist you in keeping your whereabouts confidential, develop evidence to support your claim for alimony, review any agreements you might have signed under duress, etc. In addition, an attorney can evaluate whether you might be eligible for particular action against your spouse called a "tort" if you were damaged in some way as the result of your spouse’s actions.

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Is this legal advice?

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