Alimony Using Guidelines

The Court of Appeals affirmed a decision where the trial court used AAML guidelines to determine alimony. This case is Boemio vs. Boemio. The citation number is 414 Md. 118, 994 A.2d 911 (2010). The trial court held using the guidelines by a neutral and reliable source that does not undermine or conflict with the Maryland statute is permitted.

After considering the 12 factors, the trial court used the guidelines used by the AAML for the Wife which ruled that she was entitled to $3,000 a month in indefinite alimony. This Court affirmed the Court of Special Appeals.

The parties were marred in 1985 in Washington D.C. Afterwards, they moved to Silver Spring, Maryland. Two children were born to the marriage. The Husband acquired a MBA in finance from George Washington University. Earlier, he acquired a Master’s Degree in Economics. The Husband is employed with the Federal Reserve Board.

Wife completed high school and took one year of college. Most of the years of the marriage, she worked as a manager at CVS. Later on she accepted a less stressful position with a $10,000 pay cut. With the Husband earning a six figure salary, the Wife earned additional income which brought the parties a middle class life style. The parties managed to pay their family home and had little consumer debt if any.

The Husband moved out of the marital home in 2006 and began divorce proceeding that same year. In 2007, the Wife filed a Counter-Complaint for Absolute Divorce seeking alimony, child support, use and possession of property, and other relief.

A two day trial occurred in Montgomery County Circuit Court where the Wife argued that she needed alimony and that she was not self-supporting. The Husband argued that Wife can support herself with no need of alimony. The trial court ruled that she would not be able to maintain her at the divorce, so the trial court awarded the Wife alimony for $3,000.00 a month in terms of indefinite alimony.

Husband appealed the ruling stating that using the Guidelines does not follow FL section 11-106(b). In determining alimony, the trial court must follow FL section 11-106(c). As for estrangement, the trial court found that neither party is at fault. The two grew apart.

As for the amount, the parties saved during the marriage that the trial court has the discretion to decide an equitable and fair award for the Wife. When the court needs to determine the amount of alimony, what the court must use is that the monetary and non-monetary contributions of the parties along with the standard of living occurred in the marriage. Here, the Wife allowed the Husband to advance for his career, while the Wife sacrificed to upkeep the marital family and home. Because of this, the Husband succeeded financially. It shows the wife sacrificed her career to care for the family.

The Court firmly believed that the AAML guidelines are a result of careful study by a professional organization of experienced practitioners. The Court deemed this guidelines as well as other and neutral guidelines to be helpful to Maryland Judges. The trial did not erred when using the AAML guidelines, but it made an effort to be equitable and fair. To make a fair alimony award, the best indicators are the judges to use their judgment, knowledge, and experience.

As far as duration, the Husband argued that the Wife is self –supporting and does not need an indefinite alimony award. The trial court should have awarded the Wife a fixed period of time which would be fair and equitable in this case. Provided the circumstances of the parties, if an indefinite alimony is not awarded, then unconscionable disparity exists for the Wife, where the Husband earned four times more than the wife. Many Maryland appellate courts ruled unconscionable disparity according to percentage of spouses’ incomes. Also, the duration of the marriage is significant.

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