Award of Reasonable and Necessary Expenses in Alimony Cases in Maryland
While a divorce case is pending and when it is being completed, the court has the ability to require one spouse to provide financial support to the other. The court also has the ability to require one spouse to pay for the other's reasonable and necessary legal fees and costs.
Different Types of Alimony AwardsMaryland Family Law Code Section 11-110 provides that legal fees and expenses may be awarded to one spouse by the other for legal hearings and cases related to: (1) Alimony; (2) Alimony pendente lite which is alimony paid while the divorce proceedings are pending; (3) Modification of an alimony award; and (4) Enforcement of an alimony award.
Definition of Reasonable and Necessary ExpensesMaryland Family Law Code Section 11-110 provides a specific definition of the term reasonable and necessary expenses. This term includes: (1) Court Costs: The court may award either party the costs of prosecuting or defending the alimony proceeding in question; (2) Attorney's Fees: The court may award either party the attorney's fees needed to prosecute or defend the alimony proceeding in question, payable directly to the attorney; and (3) Other Expenses: The court may award either party other expenses related to the alimony proceeding.
Award of Reasonable and Necessary ExpensesIn any alimony proceeding, a Maryland court has the authority to award reasonable and necessary expenses to either party. Though as discussed previously, the reasonable and necessary expenses must be related to the alimony proceeding in question.
Before a Maryland court may award necessary and reasonable expenses, there is a threshold consideration. The court must consider: (1) The financial status of both parties; and (2) The reason why each party entered into alimony proceedings.
Stated otherwise, the court must determine whether both parties had a valid reason to enter into alimony proceedings. If either party enters into such a proceeding bad faith (lacking substantial justification) then the court may award necessary and reasonable expenses to the other party. But the court must also consider the financial status of each party before making such an award.