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Columbia Divorce Attorneys

Is your marriage in trouble? Did your spouse commit adultery? Are there irreconcilable differences between you and your partner? Divorce is something people consider when they have issues in their marriage. Some find a way to reconcile, while others decide that a legal dissolution of the marriage is necessary. If you’re considering divorce in Columbia, MD, the professional divorce lawyers at Albers & Associates are here for you.

Call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online today to schedule an initial consultation.

What is a Divorce?

A divorce is a legal process that formally ends a marriage or marital union, dissolving the legal responsibilities and obligations that come with it. It allows spouses to go their separate ways and live independent lives.

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, and it typically involves several common issues and considerations, including:

  • Property Division: One of the central issues in divorce is the division of marital property and assets. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, furniture, and other assets acquired during the marriage. In some cases, pre-marital assets may also be subject to division.
  • Spousal Support (Alimony): Depending on the financial circumstances of each spouse and the duration of the marriage, one spouse may be required to provide financial support (alimony or spousal maintenance) to the other after the divorce. The purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living.
  • Child Custody: If the divorcing couple has children, determining child custody and visitation arrangements is a significant issue. Parents may share joint custody, or one parent may have primary custody while the other has visitation rights. The best interests of the child are typically the guiding principle in these decisions.
  • Child Support: Child support is typically mandated to ensure that both parents contribute financially to the upbringing of their children. The amount is usually determined based on factors like the parents' income, the child's needs, and the custody arrangement.
  • Parenting Plans: Courts often require divorcing parents to create a parenting plan, detailing how they will share responsibilities for the children's upbringing. This includes decisions regarding education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.

Common Types of Divorce in Maryland

Limited Divorce

This legal action allows you and your spouse to resolve important issues, but it does not legally end the marriage. The most common reasons for seeking a limited divorce in Columbia, MD include:

  • Financial Matters
  • Child-Related Issues
  • Cruelty of Treatment
  • Vicious Conduct
  • Desertion

A limited divorce does not permit the remarriage of either party. It is meant to provide support for and legalize the separation. Couples in Maryland often seek a limited divorce as an initial step towards filing for an absolute divorce. Once a legal separation is established and certain grounds for divorce are met, parties may file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce if they want to be seen as legally divorced in the eyes of Maryland law.

Absolute Divorce

Most people looking to dissolve their marriage completely seek an absolute divorce in Columbia, MD. In an absolute divorce, all important matters are decided upon including property distribution, alimony, child support, and child custody. Once an absolute divorce is finalized, both parties are free to remarry. The grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland are:

  • Adultery
  • Irreconcilable Differences
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty or Abuse
  • Conviction of a Crime
  • Insanity

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse mutually agree to legal separation and none of the grounds listed above are existent in your marriage, you can seek an uncontested divorce. In this type of divorce, you and your partner must be in agreement on all significant legal issues involving ending the marriage, including:

  • Child Custody
  • Alimony
  • Property Division

You will be recognized as legally divorced in the state of Maryland once all agreements have been made and proceedings have concluded.

Filing for Divorce in Maryland

Before filing for divorce in Maryland, at least one spouse must have been a Maryland resident for a minimum of six months before filing. Maryland recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce.

Common grounds include:

  • Mutual consent (no-fault): Both spouses agree to divorce and have no minor children in common.
  • Separation (no-fault): Spouses have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for at least 12 months (with no hope of reconciliation).
  • Adultery, desertion, cruelty, and other fault-based grounds.

Here is an overview of the divorce process in Maryland:

  • Filing for Divorce: To initiate the divorce process, one spouse (the petitioner) files a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The court filing fee must be paid at this stage.
  • Service of Process: After filing, the petitioner must serve the divorce papers on the other spouse (the respondent) in accordance with Maryland's legal service requirements. Proper service ensures that the respondent is aware of the divorce proceedings.
  • Response: The respondent has 30 days to file a response to the divorce complaint. If the divorce is uncontested, the respondent may choose not to respond.
  • Discovery (if necessary): If the divorce is contested and there are disputes over issues like property division, alimony, child custody, or child support, both parties may engage in the discovery process. This involves gathering evidence, such as financial records or testimony, to support their claims.
  • Settlement Negotiations or Mediation: Parties in a contested divorce may attempt to reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation. If they agree on all issues, they can submit a written settlement agreement to the court.
  • Court Hearings: In contested divorces or when child custody and support issues are at stake, court hearings may be necessary. The court will hear arguments, review evidence, and make decisions based on Maryland law.
  • Final Divorce Decree: Once all issues are resolved, either through a settlement agreement or court order, the court will issue a Final Divorce Decree. This document officially terminates the marriage.
  • Post-Divorce Matters: After the divorce is finalized, both parties must comply with any court-ordered obligations, such as spousal support, child support, or property division.
  • Appeals (if applicable): If one party disagrees with the court's decisions, they may have the option to appeal, but this is a complex and time-consuming process.

Get Help with Filing for Divorce in Columbia, MD

The divorce attorneys at Albers & Associates understand that considering a divorce can be very hard on everyone involved. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you through the often complicated process and advocating for you so that your separation or divorce results in the best outcome for you.

Don’t go at this alone and contact us today to learn how we can help you start a new chapter in life.

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