Getting Divorced in Maryland: What You Need to Know
Filing for a divorce is a major step towards ending a marriage. Once the process begins, it’s not always easy to reverse what’s already done once you file your paperwork.
If you’re contemplating getting a divorce in Maryland, one of the first things you should do is research. And in that case, you’ve come to the right place for information.
Our attorneys at Fait & DiLima, LLP have years of experience in not only providing legal advice but also starting the legal process of filing for divorce on behalf of our clients. Here’s our guide to getting divorced in Maryland.
1. Understanding Grounds for Divorce
Although Maryland is a no-fault divorce state, filing for divorce and going through the process without an attorney to properly walk you through your case can negatively affect the outcome of your divorce.
Maryland is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that it’s not necessary to prove any wrongdoing by you or your spouse if you want to get divorced. But, when you work with your attorney to file for divorce, you would need to specify that you and your spouse lived separately for at least a year. Either you or your spouse can file for divorce.
However, if you feel there is a reason that your marriage is ending that you would like to use as the reason for your divorce, Maryland does have certain grounds to claim someone was at fault.
Fault Grounds for Divorce
Although there’s no need to use fault grounds in order to get divorced, there are some circumstances that Maryland law recognizes that can be used to prove your spouse was at fault, like:
- Conviction of a certain crime.
- Desertion (your spouse left for at least 12 months before you filed for divorce.)
- Excessively vicious conduct.
Once you’ve decided to provide information to your divorce attorney about whether your spouse is at fault for your divorce, your attorney will begin filing paperwork on your behalf if you also meet residency requirements.
2. Meeting Residency Requirements in Maryland
When you file for divorce, you or your spouse must meet Maryland’s residency requirements. The requirement is that at least one of you must have been a resident of Maryland for at least six months prior to having your attorney file your divorce paperwork.
3. Filing a Complaint about Divorce
To officially get started, your attorney can file a complaint for an absolute divorce for you. Your attorney will inform you about fees you need to pay at the time of filing.
4. Serving the Complaint
Your attorney will inform you of when your spouse should be served with the divorce complaint they filed on your behalf. There are a few options you can use to serve them with the complaint:
- Anyone eighteen years of age or older.
- A county sheriff.
- A private contractor who works as a process server.
If you are unable to serve your spouse with your divorce complaint, your attorney can ask a judge if your spouse can be served by certified mail or return receipt. This means your spouse can simply sign for the copy and you’ll receive proof of delivery with the return receipt.
If there are other circumstances where your spouse can’t be served for example, if they’re in the military or in jail, your attorney will ask a judge to use other legal methods of service.
Once your spouse has been served with the divorce complaint, your case will be ready to move forward.
5. Requesting Child Support, Spousal Support, Custody, and More
When you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to keep in mind that you request adequate support in the early stages, before your divorce is final. Work with your family law attorney and provide the necessary information needed, such as financial disclosures.
You and your spouse would need to provide financial statements that include information about your assets and liabilities, separate assets, income and expenses, and your marital property and marital debt.
Things like child support and spousal support rely on the financial information you provide to the court and you want to make sure your information is as accurate as possible when you file.
If you are seeking a custody or visitation agreement with your spouse, a judge will decide on what is in your child’s best interests when an agreement is reached.
Begin Your Divorce Case With an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today!
If you’re ready to initiate a divorce case with a reliable attorney, our team at Fait & DiLima, LLP can begin your paperwork and file on your behalf. Whether you are seeking child support, custody, spousal support, or will have a high asset divorce, our team will work to make sure you have the best possible outcome.
Call our law office today at (301) 251-0100 to schedule a consultation so we can answer any questions and begin a case evaluation.