Divorce Attorney in Annapolis, Maryland
According to a survey by World Population Review, Maryland ranks at the low end of divorces in terms of how many divorces per 1,000 females, at 1.6. While a divorce in another state such as Nevada (which ranked first in rate of divorces) can be finalized in as few as 10 days, getting a divorce in Maryland can be a bit more complicated. There are many elements you’ll need to take into consideration.
Maryland, in fact, is unique in that it offers two types of divorces: absolute and limited. Absolute is what most people would consider a divorce to be—the dissolution of a marriage with both spouses going their separate ways. A limited divorce is more like what most states would call a legal separation. An absolute divorce frees both individuals to remarry, while a limited divorce would consider even sexual relationships with someone other than one’s spouse after the “divorce” to be infidelity, or grounds for an absolute divorce.
It all may sound confusing, but Maryland does indeed recognize both fault-based and no-fault divorces. No matter your particular situation, if you are considering divorce or have already been served notice of a divorce action by your spouse in Maryland, contact Law Offices Michael S. Rosofsky. Our attorney can help you understand your situation and strategize a path forward. Allow us to protect your rights and help you achieve a fair and equitable divorce settlement.
We proudly serve clients throughout Maryland, including Annapolis and the counties of Anne Arundel and Baltimore. Set up a one-on-one consultation with us today.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
A contested divorce means that a judge in a court will decide the issues involved in ending the marriage. These issues may include the division of property and the assumption of debts, child custody and parental visitation rights, and spousal and child support.
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that the judge will base any division of assets on a variety of factors. If, for instance, one spouse sacrificed their professional career to rear the children, or one spouse ran up all the debts in his or her interest only, the judge can rule that the sacrificing spouse should be allowed to continue in the lifestyle he or she was enjoying during the married years. The length of the marriage will also be a factor.
When it comes to assets, as a general rule, marital property is anything acquired during the time of marriage by either or both spouses, including debts. Separate property is anything either spouse owned prior to their marriage or acquired in their name only through inheritance or a gift while married. Things can get complicated if separate property becomes commingled.
For instance, if one spouse owns a home where the married couple thereafter reside, but the other spouse helps pay the mortgage or provide upkeep on the property, then it can become part separate property and part marital property—in other words, commingled.
If all these issues regarding assets, debts, child custody, and spousal and child support can be resolved outside of a courtroom, the couple can submit a settlement agreement to the court for approval. Unless the agreement is too one-sided, the court will likely approve it. This can be part and parcel of divorce by mutual consent.
It’s vital to reach out to a family law attorney to help you navigate these complex issues.
Grounds for Divorce in Maryland
For a limited divorce—which is really just a legal separation—the grounds are separation, desertion, and cruel treatment or excessively vicious conduct. For an absolute divorce, which is what most people associate with the end of a marriage, you must have the mutual consent of both spouses. Barring that, you need to show:
One-year’s separation (living apart with no sexual relationships with each other)
If you’re filing for a fault-based absolute divorce, your spouse is likely to contest your charge, meaning that matters may end up in a judge’s hands to resolve, running up court and attorney costs. The mutual consent option may be your best path forward, even if it means having an attorney work out the agreement between the two of you. Again, every single situation is unique.
Eligibility to File for Divorce in Maryland
Maryland has rather friendly residency requirements to file for divorce. You only need to live in the state for one day to file for divorce in the county court where you or your spouse resides, provided it’s a mutual consent filing.
In a fault-based divorce petition, the spouse you’re filing against has 30 days to respond if he or she lives in the state of Maryland, 60 days if they live in another state, or 90 days if they live in another country. If your spouse doesn’t respond in that time frame, you can get a default judgment from the court.
How Long Does a Maryland Divorce Take?
For a mutual consent divorce in Maryland with both parties submitting a settlement agreement, the divorce can be over in two or three months, depending on how busy the court is and how quickly you file the required forms and paperwork.
Divorce Attorney in Annapolis, Maryland
Divorce is rarely a DIY (do-it-yourself) proposition. You will no doubt need the counsel and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. If you reside in or around Annapolis, Maryland, contact Law Offices of Michael S. Rosofsky to help you navigate the divorce process and protect your rights in achieving a resolution.