What Is The Process Of Obtaining A Divorce In Maryland?


When a client seeks a divorce, I typically start by drafting a complaint for them, within which we establish the issues at hand: grounds for divorce, details relating to the grounds, child custody, alimony, property, and/or child support. If the person has children, then we will file the complaint in the county where the children live. If the person does not have children, then we file it in the county where they live, or where the opposing party lives or works. The court will then send us a summons. A summons is a notice from the court that tells the opposing party that their spouse filed a divorce action against them and that they must participate in the litigation of the case. We will then have our private process server deliver the summons and the complaint to the opposing party.

After the opposing party gets “served” with the complaint, they have to respond to the complaint, meaning they have to tell the court whether they agree or disagree with the allegations that their spouse is setting forward. They might agree, for example, on the marriage date; but they would probably disagree that they committed adultery or abuse. Depending on where they were served, they will have a certain amount of time within which to respond. If they live in Maryland, then they will have 30 days to respond. If they are out of state, then they will have 60 days to respond. If they live outside of the country, then they will have 90 days to respond. Typically we will receive an answer (response) and a counterclaim, to which we will respond and then get a court notice for the initial conference.

Is There Any Benefit Or Advantage To Filing First For Divorce?

If the parties are litigating their case, the plaintiff gets to present his or her case first. By the time the defendant presents their case, because the plaintiff has already gone, the judge might already have developed some sort of position. As a result, the defendant may be facing an uphill battle, because the judge’s mind has already been crowded by whatever allegations the plaintiff made.

When the parties go to mediation, the mediator usually doesn’t know which side to start with. They will usually just ask the plaintiff to begin talking about the case. There is no advantage or disadvantage to filing first if the parties are in mediation.

What Are Some Things That I Can Do In Preparation For An impending Divorce?

In preparation for an impending divorce, documents need to be gathered, including account statements, loan documents, credit card statements, pensions and retirement statements, 401(K)s, IRA statements, and documents related to property. There should be documentation for anything that has to do with the divorce. I would also recommend gathering tax returns, pay stubs, and any other form of evidence of income. Sometimes people allege adultery, so you would probably need to make sure that you save any of the videos or photographs somewhere outside of the home, or on a thumb drive. This will help the attorney determine whether or not you really have a strong case.

How Long Does It Typically Take To Resolve A Divorce?

At maximum, it takes one year to resolve a divorce.

What Are The Reasons That Someone May Seek A Post-Divorce Modification?

If circumstances change, a person might seek a post-divorce modification. I have one client who had use and possession of the home for three years and then realized that she could purchase the home, so she no longer needed to live in the home for three years. As a result, she needed to move to modify and did not need use and possession. There are other times when the parties agree to a particular custody schedule, but then one person may decide that they need to move out of the area. Sometimes one of the parties is not following the agreement, and so in order to make things better for the one who is filing the agreement, some modifications may need to be made. Anytime that something changes or someone is not following the agreement, someone will typically move to modify.

Which Party Generally Has To Pay Alimony Or Spousal Support In A Divorce In Your State?

The party who is financially dependent on the other is typically the recipient of alimony. More often than not, this party is the wife or the homemaker who provided care for the children and gave up their career in order to do so. Once the parties separate, that spouse will need financial support until she can support herself. In some cases, that spouse may never be able to support herself, in which case indefinite alimony would be requested.

Is There A Certain Time Period That You Must Be Married To Receive Spousal Support Or Alimony?

There is not a certain amount of time for which you must have been married in order to receive spousal support. However, the longer parties were married, the higher their alimony award may be. There are cases in which people have been married for more than 30 years, and those marriages are considered to be long-term. In those cases, permanent alimony is more likely to be awarded.

For more information on Process Of Divorce In Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 340-1911 today.

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