What are the divorce laws in maryland

Learn about the two different types of divorce in Maryland. Under Maryland law , marriage is a civil contract between two people. A divorce is.
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Under Maryland divorce law, parties may not engage in sexual relations with others while separated, as this legally constitutes adultery. If one of the spouses violates this law or any of the terms of the Separation Agreement, the other has the right to file a lawsuit for breach of contract. After the one-year separation has passed if applicable all parties seeking an annulment, limited divorce legal separation or absolute divorce should use the following procedures to file for divorce. In order to begin a legal action, you start by filing a complaint with the court.

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The complaint will include:. In case a default judgment is requested, the filing party must also provide a military affidavit stating that the responding party i. If the divorce is uncontested and both parties agree to the terms, then the case will be heard by a Master-Examiner, who will determine whether divorce should be granted. The defendant will be given an opportunity to appear but is not required to do so. The plaintiff filing party will need to testify, along with any witnesses who can corroborate evidence in assigning grounds for divorce.

If the divorce is contested, then the case goes to trial. Many months of discovery may take place depending on the circumstances. In some cases, multiple conferences may take place so that issues can be resolved. The court may also require parties to attend mediation to reduce the burden of trial. If no agreement can be reached, the divorce will go to trial. During the trial, both spouses will present testimony, and both spouses can expect to be cross-examined by the other side.


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Witness statements will be heard as well, if applicable. After all the evidence has been presented, the judge will determine whether the divorce will be granted to the plaintiff. It is worth noting that contested divorces can take months to even get to trial and even longer to proceed after the trial begins. Once a judgment is entered, a day appeal period goes into effect. The losing party then has the opportunity to enter an appeal if he or she wishes to do so.

There are a few different answers to this question, depending on the details of your case. While we recommend consulting an attorney before moving forward, here are some basics about how long it takes to get a divorce in Maryland. Whatever the reason for divorce, residency must be established prior to the judge hearing the case. At least one party must have resided in Maryland for six months prior to the divorce filing.

An absolute divorce is what is called a divorce in other states, and at the end of this process, in addition to dealing with the custody of the children and the other related issues, as stated above, the court has ended the marriage. At least one spouse must be a Maryland resident for at least one year prior to the filing of the divorce. Maryland law requires the divorcing couple to live apart for at least 12 months before filing for divorce. This means that the plaintiff must prove his or her spouse did something that caused the breakup of the marriage.

The law is very specific as to what sorts of conduct may provide fault grounds for divorce. In Maryland, the fault grounds include adultery, insanity and commitment to a mental institution, cruelty, or vicious conduct. Folks who want to file for a fault divorce should consult with a licensed Maryland attorney to determine whether their grounds are sufficient.

The plaintiff spouse needs to file these papers in the circuit court that covers his or her county. Maryland has eight circuit courts, with each court covering one or more counties. The state judicial branch website also has links to all of the circuit court websites. At the time of filing, the plaintiff must either pay a filing fee to the court or request a fee waiver. Under Maryland law, the defendant may be served by receiving a copy of the complaint and the writ of summons from:.


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Once service is completed, the plaintiff should receive proof of service from the server, be it the sheriff, a private process server, the third party or the U. This proof, which is in the form of an affidavit, will show that the defendant was properly served. The court website contains fill-in forms for this purpose. If the defendant lives in Maryland, he or she has 30 days to file an answer; the out-of-state defendant has 60 days, and the defendant who is out of the country has up to 90 days to file an answer.

Therefore it is very important that the financial information be as accurate as possible. Married couples can end their marriages by divorce or by annulment in Maryland. A limited divorce, also known as a legal separation is also allowed. It does not end the marriage but allows for several actions to take place regarding a division of property, alimony, child support and so forth. Each of these has their own special requirements and rules, and a basic understanding of these options is a good place for you to start.

Limited Divorce. A limited divorce does not end a marriage. Instead a couple remains legally married while living apart from each other. In this instance, neither spouse can remarry or have sexual relations with another person. If sexual relations take place, then adultery has been committed.

Frequently Asked Questions about Property Division in Maryland Divorce Proceedings

A court may grant a limited divorce even if an absolute divorce is sought. Limited divorces require that grounds must be stated and must include either voluntary separation, desertion, cruel treatment and excessively vicious conduct. When granted, a decree of limited divorce is issued that documents the date of separation and makes decisions about custody, child support, alimony, and the use and possession of property.

An annulment means that legally a valid marriage never actually existed.

Some people prefer an annulment over a divorce for social or religious reasons. There are grounds for annulment that must be proven before an annulment can be granted. They include:. To get an annulment a Complaint for Annulment must be filed in the circuit court for the county where the spouses live. After the complaint has been served on your spouse, you will need to testify in front of a judge prior to the annulment being granted.

Maryland Divorce Laws - Maryland Divorce Source

This is where you will need to prove your grounds for annulment. It should be noted that an annulment can take place even if children were born during the marriage. A judge can also decide child custody, support and property issues the same as in a divorce. Absolute Divorce. This is a permanent and legal end to a marriage. All ties are severed, assets are divided, custody and alimony issues are resolved, each spouse goes their separate way and they are free to remarry after a final decree is issued.

The only no-fault ground for divorce in Maryland is a month separation. Unlike many other states where irreconcilable differences can be cited as a no-fault ground, in Maryland the month separation is the only recognized alternative.

Online Maryland Divorce Service:

There are also seven fault-based grounds that can be cited for divorce as well. You or your spouse will need to go to court to prove one or more of them before a divorce can be granted.

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Those fault-based grounds include:. Understanding the different divorce process options is a critical first step in moving forward. In fact, after the decision to divorce, your choice of how you will get divorced is the most important decision you will make. Divorce is anything by cookie cutter. Be sure to check it out if you still weighing your options. You can pursue many kinds of divorce in Maryland, But the basic process is pretty much the same no matter type of divorce you choose.

Gather important information. Save time, money and stress in your divorce by approaching this step in a timely and thorough way. It will take time to pull together your information, but it is vital that you do this without cutting corners. Complete the initial paperwork.

Divorce How It Works in Maryland

You will need to complete several forms and submit them to start the divorce process in Maryland. Which forms you need to complete will depend on the circumstances of your divorce.

If you are working with an attorney, they will assist you with the process and make sure that all the forms you need are filled out and that they are done so correctly. Many counties have forms that are unique to their jurisdiction, although the forms may be similar throughout the state and in many cases may be used for any county in the state. It is best to check with your attorney or with the courthouse in the county where you plan to file your paperwork.

You can see many of the commonly used forms here. File your forms.