While divorce and family law is similar across the nation, every state has its own unique law, which may or may not be the same as a neighboring state. While in most cases it makes sense to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with divorce law, it does help to have some personal working knowledge of your basic legal rights.
If you're looking for information about Maryland divorce law, it's a good idea to start at the root of the problem.
- Do you have a question about your children and divorce? This is often related to child custody, child support and spousal support (alimony). It's also about visitation and parenting plans. In Maryland, for example, the law defaults to both parents being responsible for the children, unless a judge orders otherwise.
- Are you an unmarried parent with a partner who is seeking child support? Under Maryland law, both parents, whether married or not, have an obligation to support their children based on their individual ability to do so.
- What happens to the family cabin? This is typically a property division question. In Maryland, property obtained prior to the marriage (including real estate) that isn't given or titled to the other spouse, remains yours as "non-marital" property.
Like most other states, Maryland is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that you don't have to prove, for example, that your spouse was cheating on you as grounds for divorce. If one person wants out of the relationship, that person can simply cite irreconcilable differences.
You don't have 100 percent control over how a relationship ends up. But you do have control over how your divorce case goes. That's where an experienced Maryland divorce attorney can truly help - helping to control your stress, delay and expense. For a free consultation, call 443-709-9999 or contact us online.
Divorce Attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland
Our divorce and family law attorneys represent clients throughout the city and county of Baltimore, as well as the surrounding areas of Catonsville, Bel Air and Annapolis. With offices conveniently located in Baltimore and Catonsville, Maryland, the experienced family law attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates serve clients throughout the city and county of Baltimore, and the surrounding areas including Catonsville, Bel Air and Annapolis.
Our Baltimore Divorce Lawyers have a passion for representing people who are facing serious legal problems. We've done so since 1992, for clients living in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland. Educating our clients about their legal rights and options is our job. For a free initial consultation, call 443-709-9999 or send an email to get started.
Articles on Divorce Law in Maryland
As divorce and family law attorneys, we have represented clients in all types of cases. Take a look at the list below to read more about divorce in Maryland:
- Children and Divorce;
- Divorce and Bankruptcy;
- Divorce Costs;
- Divorce Mediation;
- Divorce Separation Agreements;
- Domestic Partnerships;
- High-asset Divorce;
- Maryland Divorce Laws;
- Men and Divorce;
- Military Divorce;
- Post-judgment Modifications;
- Pre-court Settlement;
- Preparing for Divorce;
- Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce;
- The Divorce Process;
- Uncontested Divorce;
- Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce;
- Women and Divorce; and
- Contact Maryland Legal Separation Lawyers.
An experienced lawyer can mean a world of difference in your life, before, during and after divorce. Let us help you. We've been in practice in Maryland since 1992, helping people through tough legal matters. Call us today for a free initial consultation.
Call 443-709-9999 send us an e-mail.
Divorce Laws in Maryland
In Maryland, a court may grant a limited divorce on the following grounds: cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party; excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or to a minor child of the complaining party; desertion; or separation, if the parties are living separate and apart without cohabitation.
A limited divorce does not sever the marriage but does grant the complaining party the right to live separate and apart from the other spouse. A limited divorce can also address issues of custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and use and possession of a family home.
A court may grant an absolute divorce on the following grounds:
- desertion, if the desertion is deliberate and final, has continued for 12 months without interruption, and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;
- conviction of a felony or misdemeanor in any state or federal court, if the defendant has been sentenced to serve at least three years, or an indeterminate sentence, and has served 12 months of the sentence;
- 12-month separation, when the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the divorce application;
- insanity, as specified; or cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
A court may grant an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent if:
- the parties do not have any minor children in common the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to:
- the distribution of property, including a transfer of ownership of an interest in marital property, monetary awards, and/or an award of possession and use of the family home and family use personal property;
- neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules; and
- both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.
If the court decrees an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent, the court may merge or incorporate the settlement agreement into the divorce decree and modify or enforce the settlement agreement as authorized by statutory provisions.
Spouses may make a valid and enforceable deed, agreement, or settlement that relates to alimony, support, property rights, or personal rights. The court may modify and enforce provisions within the deed, agreement, or settlement, as specified.
Preparing for a Divorce in Maryland
In a sense, there's nothing you can do to truly prepare for divorce. You never imagined having to go through it in the first place. But if you're thinking about getting a divorce, or your spouse has told you that he or she wants one, there are practical steps you can take to prepare.
Below, you'll find the big things you need to start thinking about when it comes to preparing for divorce in Maryland:
- Your kids.
- Are your children safe and free from domestic violence? Can your spouse or partner provide for them? Can you provide for them? After divorce, where would you and your spouse consider living?
- Your house.
- Will you or your spouse consider buying the other out? Who will be responsible for the mortgage? Can the house be sold while your minor kids are still living there?
- Your assets.
- Do you have a retirement pension or 401k account? Do you have an ownership interest in a business? Does your spouse? Are there any inheritances or other assets acquired during the marriage?
- Your debt.
- How will you and your spouse divide credit card debt, medical bills and student loan debt?
Your answers to these questions will have an impact on child custody and parenting plans, spousal support (alimony), and the division of property and debt. Although you can never fully be prepared for a divorce, you can take practical steps to get ready.
The Process of Divorce in Maryland
A divorce can take anywhere from a handful of months to years. But on average, it takes about a year or a year and a half from beginning to end. The divorce process in Maryland is generally the same from case to case - what's different in every case is how well equipped the client is in handling it. If you're separated and/or heading toward divorce, it helps to have a basic understanding of the process.
- Acceptance. Sooner or later, both spouses must come to terms with the fact of divorce. The longer this takes, the longer the entire divorce process will take. Reconciliation should always be an option, but if one spouse firmly wants a divorce, acceptance is a sure path toward reducing conflict.
- Record gathering. After acceptance takes place, you'll want to begin gathering records and paperwork, including tax returns, bank account statements and real estate. A complete picture of your (and your spouse's) financial situation is necessary to resolving your divorce.
- Settlement or trial. The length of time (and amount of conflict) varies significantly here. By this time, the work of acceptance and record gathering is largely done, as well as advocating your position on child custody. Many cases are settled in divorce mediation, while others are only finished after trial and the judge issues a divorce decree.
Complaint for Divorce in Maryland Forms - Find the Complaint for Absolute Divorce and instructions for filing the form to end a marriage in Baltimore, Maryland. Find out more about why you need a Baltimore Divorce attorney if the case is contested and your spouse has a lawyer, you cannot locate your spouse, you have a home, person or a large amount of property or income, you do not agree on child custody issues, or you have been married for more than 10 years.
Obtain Divorce Records in Baltimore County - Visit the website of the County of Baltimore to learn mor about how to obtain marriage and divorce records from the Clerk of the Court for Baltimore County located at 401 Bosley Avenue in Towson, Maryland. Find information on obtaining a Marriage Licenses, Divorce Decrees and Annulments and Verification of Divorce or Annulment form.
Divorce in Baltimore County - Visit the website of the Department of Health to find information on divorce certification in Maryland. The Division of Vital Records in Maryland will verify annulments and divorces and annulments that occurred after January 1, 1992. The Verification of Divorce form includes the names of the persons divorced, the county where the divorce took place, the date of the decree, and type of divorce action. Call the Circuit Court that granted the decree to find the actual Decree of Divorce and Annulment of Marriage. Attorneys representing either spouse named in the divorce or annulment record can request a copy of the verification of divorce form.
Finding a Divorce Lawyer in Baltimore, MD
Our divorce attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland, offer free initial consultations for all prospective family law clients. Maryland divorce law is complex; remember that it helps to start with the particular issue you're facing when doing your research. And feel free to consult an experienced attorney.
We can be reached at 443-709-9999 or contact us online.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.