When you work with a Baltimore uncontested divorce attorney, the goal is to wrap up your marriage fairly, quickly, and inexpensively. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we believe that everyone benefits from an uncontested divorce. You and your spouse avoid contentious court hearings and save valuable time and money. Your children don’t experience the trauma of an extended custody battle. Moreover, we get to guide you through a less stressful and difficult transition.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse decide to set aside your differences and amicably end your marriage. You both must agree to the essential terms of your divorce and typically sign a separation agreement. The court is minimally involved — it simply reviews your paperwork, holds a brief hearing, and approves the terms of your agreement. You typically pay less in attorneys’ fees, case costs, and other expenses in an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested No-Fault Divorce Involving Children
If you and your spouse have minor children, you can still file an uncontested, no-fault divorce in Baltimore. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse negotiate a separation agreement, setting out how you will handle:
- Alimony payments,
- Child custody and visitation,
- Child support payments,
- Property and debt division, and
- Any other important matters related to your marriage.
However, there are several eligibility requirements before you file for an uncontested divorce. These requirements involve you and your spouse’s residency and the grounds for your divorce.
To file for divorce in Maryland, either you or your spouse must be a resident. If the grounds for your divorce occurred outside of Maryland, you or your spouse must be residents for at least six months before filing a divorce complaint.
No-Fault Divorce Requirements
Most uncontested divorces are no-fault divorces. (You can also file an uncontested, fault-based divorce, but this is relatively rare.) In a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must live separately for at least 12 months before you file for divorce. While you cannot waive this waiting period, you might consider filing a limited divorce in the meantime (which does not require a 12-month separation).
Contact an uncontested divorce attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates for more information about divorces involving children. We can help you craft a divorce strategy that meets you and your family’s needs.
Mutual Consent Divorce
Divorce by mutual consent is a relatively new concept in Maryland. You qualify for a mutual consent divorce if you and your spouse:
- Do not have minor children together, and
- Can agree on alimony and property/debt division.
In a mutual consent divorce, you do not have to wait 12 months before you file for divorce. However, you still must meet Maryland’s residency requirements.
In a mutual consent divorce, your uncontested divorce attorney will draft a written separation agreement and submit it to the court. Then, you and your spouse will attend a brief court hearing. After this hearing, the terms of your separation agreement are incorporated into your divorce decree — making it legally binding. If you and your spouse qualify for a mutual consent divorce, contact us for more information. We can help you file your divorce complaint, draft a separation agreement, and successfully present it to the court.
How Do I Get an Uncontested Divorce?
Once you decide divorce is inevitable, you and your spouse must:
- Determine which county has jurisdiction over your case,
- File a divorce petition with the court,
- Serve the petition on the other party,
- Respond to the petition — indicating that the divorce is uncontested,
- Draft and sign a formal separation agreement, and
- Present your separation agreement to the court.
Sometimes a divorce begins peacefully, only to become hotly contested later (and vice versa). An uncontested divorce involves a lot of negotiation and patience. While some battles are worth fighting, you sometimes must compromise for the sake of your sanity or your child’s best interests. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we will help you and your spouse sort of your issues fairly — either in private or in court.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
While you can always decide to represent yourself, it’s typically in your best interest to work with an experienced uncontested divorce attorney. Divorce involves more than completing a series of forms. You typically must decide:
- The amount and duration of alimony payments,
- How you will divide child custody, assessing the tax and other implications of this decision,
- The amount of monthly child support payments and whether to pay child support for an older child’s college-related expenses,
- The value of your assets, property, and debt and how to divide them fairly,
- Whether one spouse will have sole use of certain assets, such as a marital home, and
- Divide complicated assets, such as pensions and retirement plans.
Without an uncontested divorce attorney, you might make costly mistakes. And, disagreements can quickly escalate when you are negotiating directly with your spouse. An uncontested divorce attorney can help you discuss these issues civilly and amicably — avoiding undue costs and hassle.
Consult With a Baltimore Uncontested Divorce Attorney
When you work with a Baltimore uncontested divorce attorney, you’re giving yourself the best chance for a quick and painless end to your marriage. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we help our clients peacefully and fairly resolve their issues and move on with their lives. However, if necessary, we will use our extensive litigation experience to protect your interests. Contact us for an evaluation.