Maryland Court Denies Alimony Termination for Disabled Husband


Section 11-108 of the Maryland Family Law Article provides:

Unless the parties agree otherwise, alimony terminates on:

(1) the death of either party; or
(2) on the marriage of the recipient; or
(3) if the court finds that termination is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result

In Moore v. Jacobsen, 373 Md. 185, 817 A.2d 212 (2003), the parties agreed that the husband would pay the wife $833.33 in alimony every month and that no court would “have the power to modify” the agreement with respect to alimony. The separation agreement did not mention whether remarriage would terminate the wife’s right to alimony.   The Maryland Court of Appeals said that the agreement only prohibited modification.  For it to prohibit termination, the parties have to “agree otherwise” by expressly stating that the alimony would not terminate on remarriage.  So the court upheld the termination of alimony.

In Bradley v. Bradley, September 13, 2013, Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the husband had agreed to pay the wife $2,233.33 a month in alimony until the death of either party or the remarriage of the wife.  The agreement said it these provisions were non-modifiable by the court.  The husband petitioned to terminate alimony to avoid a harsh and inequitable result because he had become permanently disabled, had no income, and filed for bankruptcy.  He pointed out that the agreement did not expressly prohibit termination to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.

The court denied termination.  It said that the parties stated the reasons that alimony could be terminated, namely death or remarriage.  They could have included harsh and inequitable result but they chose not to do so.  And they agreed the court could not modify this.