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Divorce in Maryland

What types of divorce are there in Maryland?

In Maryland, there are two types of divorce: absolute and limited. Limited divorce is sometimes referred to as a legal separation. With a limited divorce, the court does not have the jurisdiction to divide the marital property, although the parties may enter into such an agreement. Absolute divorce is just that–it is a final legal dissolution of the civil marriage contract between spouses.

There is also an option called collaborative divorce, which is an agreement between both spouses not to pursue litigation against one another. The goal is to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, and we help our clients negotiate the best deal.

What is the Maryland residency requirement?

If the grounds for divorce occurred in the state, spouses may file for divorce in the county in which they reside. However, if the grounds occurred out of state, a person must reside within the state for a year before filing.

What are the grounds for divorce in Maryland?

Because the state of Maryland treats divorce as a “fault” matter, there must be a reason given by the petitioner(s) who seek a marital dissolution. There are six acceptable grounds:

  • Cruelty/excessively vicious conduct and domestic violence
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for at least one year
  • Voluntary separation for at least one year
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Insanity

How is marital property divided through divorce in Maryland?

The state of Maryland observes what is known as an “equitable distribution”. This means if the couple cannot reach a mutual agreement on property division, the court will divide said property equitably.

However, “equitable” does not mean equal.

There are several considerations the court factors into its decision, and we can explain the process and possible outcomes.

What is the child custody situation in Maryland?

Like other states, Maryland wants children to have regular contact with each spouse which is a good thing. Minor children need both parents in their lives unless there are good reasons to the contrary. The time share is determined by the circumstances leading up to the decision to divorce. We are experienced in getting our clients custody in the best interest of the child.

How much is child support in Maryland?

Child support in Maryland is supposed to be equal to each party after the dissolution. Support is determined according to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. However, depending on the circumstance, one party may have to pay more as the court can “impute” income of the parent which has the capacity to earn more. The amount of child support is dependent on the amount of time the parents have with the children and the income of the parties. Obviously, the parent who earns more will pay proportionately more towards support of the children.

How is alimony determined in Maryland?

In the state of Maryland, alimony may be awarded to either spouse by the court, after taking several factors into consideration when determining a fair and equitable award. Factors which the court takes into consideration for spousal support are: length of the marriage, the age, health and mental conditions of each party, the standard of living established during the marriage and the disparity of income. The court also looks at each party’s income and income potential. Alimony may be granted for a specific period, sometimes referred to as rehabilitative alimony or for an indefinite period. Maryland law does not provide any statutory guidelines as with child support. However, there are advisory guidelines.

Our firm is experienced in dealing with alimony, striving for the best outcome for our clients.

Can the terms of a divorce be changed in Maryland?

Yes. This is a process called “modification” and it allows terms of the divorce to be changed should the situation warrant such a change. The court cannot undo the divorce itself. The court may, however, modify child support and alimony. We assist our clients in the complex process, helping them to get what they seek.


     

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