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How to Get Divorced in Maryland: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Get Divorced in Maryland: A Comprehensive Guide

Going through a divorce is never easy. It is a time filled with complex emotions and difficult decisions. If you’re considering seeking a divorce in Maryland, it’s crucial to understand the legal process and your rights. If you are wondering how to get divorced in Maryland, continue reading our comprehensive guide.

Residency Requirements for Divorce

To file for divorce in Maryland, Md. Code, Family Law § 7-101 specifies that one of the parties to the divorce must be a state resident. If the grounds for divorce occurred within the state, the divorce petition can be filed by either party as long as they live there. However, if the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland, at least one party to the divorce must reside in Maryland for a minimum of six months before the petition can be filed.

Basis for Divorce

In Maryland, the termination of a marriage requires establishing one of the statutory grounds or reasons for divorce. According to Maryland law, a court has the authority to grant a divorce based on:

  • Six-month separation
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Mutual consent

Six-Month Separation

To qualify for this ground, the individuals must have maintained a continuous separation for 6 months before the divorce application submission. According to Maryland law, spouses are deemed to have lived separate and apart if they have led independent lives, irrespective of residing in the same dwelling or if a court order mandates the separation.

Irreconcilable Differences

The term “irreconcilable differences” denotes a scenario in which a married couple encounters substantial issues or conflicts that cannot be resolved, resulting in the breakdown of their marriage. In essence, it indicates that the spouses have significant differences or challenges that render it unfeasible or impractical to sustain a shared life as a married couple.

When initiating a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the unresolved issues and conflicts will serve as the foundation for the grounds upon which you seek the marriage’s permanent dissolution. A Maryland divorce attorney can help you with the petition to ensure all forms are filed correctly and within the time requirements.

Mutual Consent

  1. To qualify for a divorce based on mutual consent, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Both spouses must sign a written settlement agreement that addresses all of the following:
    2. Alimony (financial support that will be provided to a former spouse)
    3. Property distribution, encompassing the family home, monetary awards, and any personal property used by the family
    4. Custody, access, care, and support of minor or dependent children
  2. A completed child support guidelines worksheet is required if the settlement agreement mandates one spouse to pay child support.
  3. Neither party must raise written objections to the settlement agreement before the divorce hearing.
  4. The court must be convinced that any terms concerning minor or dependent children in the agreement are in their best interests.

If the court grants a divorce based on mutual consent, the settlement agreement will incorporated (but not merged) into the divorce decree. For couples dealing with significant shared property or custody concerns, seeking legal assistance from a knowledgeable Maryland divorce attorney can aid in preparing a comprehensive settlement agreement.

If you need assistance with any paperwork or more information about how to get divorced in Maryland, contact our Maryland divorce attorney right away.

Filing a Divorce

Understanding the grounds that best fit your situation is the initial step toward initiating the divorce process. Once you have chosen your grounds and prepared the necessary agreements, the next step is filing the paperwork with the court. This includes your complaint for divorce, supporting documents, and any required fees.

Consent Hearing

For divorces based on mutual consent, a consent hearing is scheduled. During this hearing, the court reviews the agreement, ensuring it meets legal requirements and is in the children’s best interests.

Finalizing the Divorce

Upon approval by the court, your divorce will be finalized. The court may incorporate the settlement agreement into the divorce decree, providing a legally binding resolution.

Steps for Filing a Divorce

Several steps need to be taken during the filing process.

Step 1: File the Complaint for Absolute Divorce

To initiate the process, file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, specifying the grounds for dissolution.

Step 2: Additional Court Documents

File a Financial Statement if child support or alimony is at issue, or if you have resolved all or any of the issues to be resolved in your divorce, file the  Property Settlement Agreement or other Agreement(s), depending on your situation.

Step 3: File Your Forms and Fee Waiver Requests (if Applicable)

Submit the finalized documents to the clerk. If seeking a fee waiver, complete the Motion for Waiver of Prepayment of Fees. File the documents, and within five days, verify whether the motion has been approved.

Step 4: Service

Follow specific guidelines for personal service, including obtaining a Writ of Summons for out-of-state or international cases. Proper service is crucial to avoid case dismissal.

Step 5: Complete and File an Affidavit of Service

Complete and file an Affidavit of Service, including the green card, if served by certified mail. Ensure you have the required documents based on the type of service.

Step 6: If No Answer Filed, Then File a Request for Default

If your spouse has not responded within the specified time frame, file a Request for Order of Default.

Step 7: Identify Marital and Non-Marital Property

If there are items of property to be divided, you and your spouse will be reuqired to complete a Joint Statement of Parties Concerning Marital and Non-Marital Property.

Step 9: Hearing

Gather necessary documents and witnesses, and ensure thorough preparation for the proceedings.

Step 10: Judgment of Divorce

Following the hearing, the court will draft the Judgment of Divorce; in certain instances.

The divorce process can be extremely confusing and time-consuming. Any mistake can be costly. For this reason, it is in your best interest to seek guidance from a Maryland divorce attorney early on.

Contact Our Maryland Divorce Attorney Today

When it comes to knowing how to get divorced in Maryland, it is vital to ensure your rights are protected. With the help of an experienced Maryland divorce attorney from Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet, you can feel confident that your rights will be fought for and your needs will be advocated for.

Our team understands Maryland’s domestic relations law and is prepared to handle any challenges that may arise. We are dedicated to helping our clients successfully resolve their family law cases in the most efficient manner possible. Trust us to be your fierce advocate throughout this process as we work towards securing a favorable outcome for you. Contact our team now for a consultation.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential family law case evaluation.


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