Getting a divorce in maryland
Maryland courts do not accept simple accusations. If spouses are seeking a limited divorce also known as legal separation , they may use the following grounds:. Spouses seeking absolute divorce in Maryland i. The first method involves mediation and is the least complicated as well as the least expensive option. Before filing for divorce, couples can opt to work with a mediator, who can aid in the process of conflict resolution.
Once the settlement terms are reached, the mediator helps the spouses complete a Separation Agreement. After the agreement has been drawn up, each party must have the Separation Agreement reviewed by an independent attorney.
How Do I File for Divorce in Maryland
The terms outlined in the Separation Agreement are meant to bridge the gap between marriage and cohabitation and the time when a divorce is finalized, or the parties opt to resolve their differences by revoking the agreement in writing. The Separation Agreement is not a substitute for divorce. 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. 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.
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During the trial, both spouses will present testimony, and both spouses can expect to be cross-examined by the other side. 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. In uncontested divorces, the final judgment may be granted within several weeks of filing, depending on Master Examiner and judicial caseloads as well as circumstances of the individual case.
In contested divorces, the final judgment often takes months or even longer than a year to obtain, depending on unique circumstances, court schedules, and other unique factors. In all Maryland divorce cases, the divorce judgment is final when the judge provides his or her signature. If a party claims and proves that his or her spouse committed adultery, the court can grant the divorce right away. To prove adultery in court, you do not need to show actual intercourse occurred.
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However, you must prove that the offending spouse had both the disposition and the opportunity for intercourse outside of the marriage. It is not enough for your spouse to simply admit to adultery. You must prove it using evidence examples: text messages, photographs, emails, etc. However, if the offending spouse is the husband and a child is born outside of the marriage, this is usually enough to prove a claim of adultery.
The law is not completely clear about how adultery relates to same-sex marriages. Adultery may be a factor in determining the right to alimony. It may be a factor in awarding custody of the children only if the court determines that the adulterous behavior had a harmful effect on the children. Generally, in actual desertion, the deserting spouse abandons the marital home without justification.
In "constructive" desertion, the person who leaves is justified and the court will consider the leaving spouse the deserted one. To prove actual desertion, the spouse seeking the divorce must prove ALL of the following elements:.
Grounds for a Limited Divorce in Maryland
Technically, "constructive" desertion also requires proof of the above elements. The most common justification for constructive desertion is cruelty. Generally, the court will allow the spouse to leave and obtain a divorce for "constructive" desertion if remaining in the home would make them lose their self-respect or put them or their children in danger of either physical or mental harm. If you are thinking about leaving the home, before you leave, consider the following:.
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If your spouse has left the home without cause and you want to use actual desertion as a ground for divorce, remember the following:. Often, physical abuse is involved. A single act of cruelty can be a ground of divorce if it shows the party intends to do serious bodily harm or is severe enough to threaten serious danger in the future. Cruelty as a ground for divorce can also include mental abuse. There must be no reasonable expectation of reconciliation making up.
Marital neglect, rudeness, and using profane and abusive language do not constitute cruelty or excessively vicious conduct. Usually, a pattern of serious domestic violence or other severe actions are required for these grounds of divorce. There is no waiting period for these grounds. A party may file for divorce based on cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct right away.
Permanent and incurable insanity is a fault-based ground for divorce.