2010 Boemio vs. Boemio

Thomas Boemio v. Cynthia Boemio, No. 57, September Term, 2009

FAMILY LAW – ALIMONY – USE OF INDEPENDENT GUIDELINES IN ADDITION TO REQUIRED STATUTORY CONSIDERATIONS WHEN FASHIONING AN AWARD

Following 21 years of marriage, husband filed for divorce. During a trial to determine the amount of alimony and child support the husband would pay, the Circuit Court conducted the statutory analysis required under Md. Code (1984, 2006 Repl. Vol.), Section 11-106 of the Family Law Article. In an effort to transform those statutory factors into a final monetary award, the court also consulted an alimony formula promulgated by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The court acknowledged that this formula was subject to the twelve statutory considerations in Section 11-106, and applied it accordingly. Ultimately, the trial court determined that indefinite alimony of $3,000 per month was appropriate. The husband appeals that judgment and contends that the trial court erred in consulting guidelines that were not expressly included in the Code. Maryland’s alimony statute permits courts to consider “all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award, including [the twelve listed in the statute.]” Thus, courts are not limited to the twelve enumerated in Section 11-106 of the Family Law Article. We hold that, given the difficulty of translating predominantly qualitative factors into a numerical award, courts may consult guidelines developed by a reliable and neutral source that do not conflict with or undermine any of the considerations expressed in the statute when determining the amount and duration of alimony.

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