Going through a divorce can be one of the hardest things you ever do. It is often exceptionally stressful, and if you happen to have children with your spouse, the proceedings can be even more emotional. Thankfully, when you work with Albers & Associates, you can lean on our extensive legal experience to help you get through it.
Our Towson divorce attorneys are ready to walk you through everything from separation agreements to child custody and more. We understand that this is a very stressful time in your life, which is why we provide highly personalized and compassionate legal services. Our goal is to protect your rights and best interests, as well as help you achieve a resolution that’s tailored to your unique circumstances, family situation, and personal goals.
Maryland Divorce Laws
In Maryland, divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage, officially ending the marital relationship between two spouses.
Maryland recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
- No-Fault Ground: The no-fault ground for divorce in Maryland is "voluntary separation," which means that spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least 12 months without interruption and without the expectation of reconciliation.
- Fault Grounds: Maryland also allows for divorce based on fault grounds, including adultery, desertion, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, or insanity. In these cases, there is no waiting period for divorce.
There are two main types of divorces: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, the spouses do not agree on at least one divorce-related issue, which can be resolved through either mediation or litigation. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce means both parties agree on all divorce-related issues.
Common types of divorce-related issues include:
- Property Division: Maryland follows the principle of "equitable distribution" when dividing marital property in divorce. This means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between the spouses. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage.
- Alimony (Spousal Support): In Maryland, the court may award alimony or spousal support to one spouse if it is deemed necessary. The court considers factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial needs and resources of each spouse, and their respective contributions to the marriage.
- Child Custody and Child Support: Child custody and support issues are determined based on the best interests of the child. Maryland courts encourage joint custody arrangements when it is in the child's best interest. Child support is calculated using state guidelines that consider factors such as each parent's income, the child's needs, and the custodial arrangement.
To file for divorce in Maryland, at least one of the spouses must be a bona fide resident of the state. The residency requirement generally means living in Maryland for at least six months before filing for divorce.
How Does Divorce Work in Towson, MD?
The divorce process in Maryland typically begins with one spouse filing a Complaint for Absolute Divorce in the appropriate circuit court. After filing, the divorce proceedings may involve stages like discovery, negotiation, mediation, and, if necessary, a trial to resolve disputes. Once the court is satisfied that all relevant issues have been addressed, it will issue a final divorce decree.
The first step to getting a divorce is deciding to change your future. No matter the reason you’re seeking a divorce, you will almost certainly need the aid of a seasoned family lawyer on your side to help you navigate this process.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward your new life, then contact us today to set up an initial consultation. We can walk you through the steps involved in filing for divorce in Maryland, as well as provide you with the information you need to move forward.
We can also help you if you have been served divorce papers by your spouse. If this is your situation, it is a good idea to reach out to an experienced lawyer right away, someone who can protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Maryland?
In the U.S., each state has different requirements for a person to legally file for divorce.
In Maryland, there are two primary types of divorce:
The grounds for filing for limited divorce differ from those involved in filing for an absolute divorce.
The grounds for a limited divorce in Maryland include:
This type of divorce allows for legal documentation that states a) that you and your spouse are not living together and b) the time the physical separation began. With a limited divorce, the state of Maryland still considers you legally married. Because of this, many Towson residents work with a professional divorce lawyer to achieve an absolute divorce.
The grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland include:
- Criminal conviction
- Mutual consent
With an absolute divorce, the state of Maryland recognizes that you and your ex-spouse are no longer legally married. An absolute divorce can be complicated to achieve, which is why it’s important to work with a professional divorce attorney in Towson, MD when you’re considering filing for divorce.
Alimony, or spousal support, is not always granted in Maryland divorces. However, there are certain circumstances in which the court may order one party to pay spousal support to the other.
If you are the only one in your marriage who is earning income, there is a possibility you will have to pay alimony to your ex-spouse. The amount you may have to pay is determined during the divorce process, but there are ways to ensure you do not take a significant hit financially when you’re going through a divorce.
Likewise, if you relied on your spouse for financial support during the marriage and are unable to maintain the same quality of life on your own, you may be entitled to spousal support. The court will weigh many factors when determining whether to award alimony, as well as how much support to award to either party.
What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?
While you are not required to hire a divorce lawyer, there are many advantages to doing so. Simply put, working with an attorney puts you in the best possible position for a successful resolution to your case.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, your lawyer will likely:
- Explain your various options and different paths to achieving your divorce
- Help you navigate divorce-related issues, such as child custody and alimony
- Advocate for your rights during the division of assets and debts
- Review the available evidence and documentation at the outset of your divorce
- Help you prepare for depositions, hearings, and other related proceedings
- Handle the various administrative and procedural aspects of your case
Your attorney will work to obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf. Although hiring a lawyer can seem like yet another expense, the fact is that you stand to lose even more—financially and otherwise—in your divorce without the help of an attorney.
How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
Choosing a lawyer for your divorce case can feel overwhelming, but there are several things to keep in mind that can help you find the right one.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a divorce attorney is their overall experience and skill level. Have they handled cases like yours before? Do they understand Maryland’s divorce laws? Do they have a track record of successfully resolving divorce cases for past clients?
You’ll also want to think about your comfort level with your attorney. This is someone who will need to know various intimate details about your finances, living situation, and familial concerns. You want to make sure that you are comfortable sharing this information with the person you have chosen to represent you in the divorce.
Lastly, it’s in your best interests to choose an attorney who not only has the time and resources needed to effectively handle your case but also the compassion to guide you through this difficult time in your life. Your attorney should take the time to get to know you on a personal level so that they can better understand your unique concerns, challenges, and goals from the legal process.
Contact Albers & Associates for Help With Your Divorce
Albers & Associates is here to advocate for you. We work to ensure the best possible outcome and do everything possible to ease the amount of stress our clients are under. We genuinely care about the people we serve and are ready to help you navigate the process of filing for divorce in Maryland.