Divorce in Maryland
The most common way to end a marriage in Maryland is through divorce. Divorce is emotionally and financially trying, but it also delineates boundaries and legal rights that allow people to end their marriage and continue with their lives separately.
Maryland has both “fault” and no fault” grounds for divorce. You may get divorced based upon “fault” or “no fault” grounds. If there is no “fault” this means that there is no need to prove that anyone did something wrong, such as have an affair or commit abuse. Either spouce can unilaterally decide to end the marriage. It does not matter which party files first. The court does not give any preference to the pary who files for divorce.
The decision to divorce is a challenging one to make with many facets to consider in your post-separation living arrangements. Divorce can create a profound amount of stress and may lead to many subsequent changes such as relocating from the family home, financial adjustments and developing a different schedule with children. You are not legally required to retain an attorney in a divorce and may represent yourself. In my experience, trying to navigate the legal maze on your own will compound the stress of the divorce and hinder an effective and optimal result.
If you are considering a divorce, the help of a family law attorney is invaluable. If possible, and prior to consulting with an attorney, or filing for divorce you should begin gathering information of your assets, your debts and how to fund two separate households. If you have children, consideration of possible custody schedules is also helpful. Taking these simple steps before you meet with an attorney can help save you time and money and help your attorney strategize more easily to meet your goals.
Once a party files for divorce and has the Complaint served upon the other person, the other party generally has thirty days to respond. If they fail to respond, then the moving party (called the Plaintiff) can request a default judgment to be entered by the courts. If the responding party (called the Defendant or Respondent) responds timely, then the parties will move forward with exchanging financial disclosures and engage in discovery as necessary.
It is always preferable for the parties to resolve as many (if not all) issues outside of litigation. The parties can try to agree upon child custody matters, spousal support, property division and child support without intervention by the courts. However, if the parties are unable to agree, a trial will be held and the court will determine these matters for the parties.
Divorce can be a traumatic experience, even in the most amicable of cases. Not all family lawyers are created equal, and finding the right match for you can make a world of difference in your marital dissolution. My objective is to provide you with the strategy and support to zealously represent your rights and your position as to what is in the best interests of your children. I aim to diligently help make this transition as smooth as possible and resolve your legal problems and concerns which may be preventing you from living a fully happy and healthy life.
Each situation is unique and so is each person and family. From our initial consultation, I will listen and understand where you are, where you are coming from, help you discover what your goals are, inform you of your rights, and to help you strategize the best path for you moving forward. I can also tell you more about alternatives to divorce litigation, such as mediation, negotiation, arbitration and collaboration. If you would like to set up an appointment with me, please call my office at (240) 617-0404.