Maryland divorce details
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Maryland
What will you choose, if somebody asks you, what do you like more: problems or benefits? Your answer is obvious, isn’t it? The same thing happens with these two types of divorce. The Uncontested one is the most comfortable way to get a legal marriage termination. It means that two spouses mutually desire to finish their relations and agree to sign the papers and eventually get a Final Judgment. The Contested Divorce is a definitely different issue. The couple can’t arrange the main principles and need help to handle the divorce process. Such a help may become a lawyer, or any other legal body, turning the whole procedure. The Uncontested Divorce is the simplest way to get a Decree in several days, not a year or even more. In addition, the Uncontested Divorce is cheaper and more stable than a Contested one, where the whole process is a constant trial. You save your money and do not consider the extra price to the attorney. The Uncontested Divorce has several grounds, let’s cover them.
Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
The Uncontested Divorce in Maryland, as we have already stipulated, is a truly amicable divorce where both spouses agree to terminate the current marriage immediately. There are several grounds for the Uncontested Divorce. Here they are.
Grounds for Divorce in Maryland
The grounds for Divorce in Maryland are as follows:
- 1 year of the Separation
- The violent behavior towards any member of the family
- The incurable disease of one of the spouses
- The mental sickness
- The rough approach towards one of the spouses
- The excessive alcoholism of one of the spouses
- The abuse
1-year separation is the only no-fault ground for divorce in Maryland and the main ground for the Uncontested Divorce. The spouses are ready to handle all the items that need to be discussed, but they will not reveal the real reasons for the public, because it is not an Uncontested Divorce anymore.
Maryland Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
In Maryland, there are two unique residency requirements, and the divorcing couple has to meet them to make file for divorce under the Maryland jurisdiction. Here they are:
- The divorcing couple should live independently for at least 12 months before they claim for the marriage termination. Otherwise, the Petitioner has to show that there are some Fault-grounds for the divorce procedure. It surely means that The Uncontested Divorce becomes a Contested one.
- One of the spouses has to be a Maryland resident for at least one year before filing for the divorce if the ground for divorce occurred out of the state. If the ground for divorce occurred in Maryland you only need to currently reside in the state.
If the couple neglects such a residency requirement, the Superior Court fails to grant them an Uncontested Divorce quickly. It will cost you twice more, so be attentive.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
To begin the divorce, the Petitioner files a “Complaint about Absolute Divorce” that is form “Civil Domestic Case Information Report.” The next step is to inform your spouse about your intentions regarding the divorce process. Then you’d better serve your spouse with the Petition with the help of the County Sheriff’s service or anyone who is older than 18 and isn’t involved in the case, or just by mail. The following step will be to prepare all other paperwork for the divorce. You can do it online or with the help of the attorney, that will be twice more expensive. After the preparation of the documents, you go to the Circuit Court of your county or the county of the Defendant's residence. The following step will be to wait for 21 days until your spouse signs the documents and sends them back to you. When all the documentation is ready to file with the court, you should go to the Superior Court. One more important thing is that your divorce procedure should take place in the particular the county where one of the spouses lives or currently works.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Maryland
The DIY Divorce is one of the most well-to-do divorces ever due to its easiness. The principal idea of such a divorce is that the spouses perform all their issues by themselves, without any assistance from the side of the legal body. They negotiate within their couple, make the significant solvations, prepare the documents online or by themselves, etc. The DIY Divorce simultaneously has its pros and cons. The most basic pro is that the DIY Divorce is a standard variant for the couples who are limited with money. The cost of the attorney is the most vivid part of all the expenses, so you can count on yourself, how much you will save. The biggest con of the whole process is that the DIY Divorce is extremely unreliable. You may not know all the forms to file with the court and will miss your term because the court will not approve your papers. You should investigate all the peculiarities of the DIY divorce before you fulfill it. Firstly, value your abilities.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Maryland
The cost of Divorce in Maryland can vary. In general, it is $14 500 with lawyer’s fees. It fluctuates with the number of children, the property division, and other issues. The Uncontested Divorce will be more economical because you don't have to pay an attorney. The minimum cost of uncontested divorce is equal to the filing fee (about $165 in Maryland). In case you order the preparation of the documents online it will cost an additional $149 with no hidden fees or other additional charges.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Maryland
Maryland legislation points out that the couple has to wait for at least 60 days from the date of filing the Petition for the Divorce until the Final Decree is given by the Superior Court. The Uncontested Divorce is specified according to this term. The Contested divorce might last more than 1 year regarding the ins and outs of the case.
Papers and Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Maryland
The preparation of the documents is the most influential part of the whole divorce. We want to warn you that you may not need all the documents listed here, everything depends on your case. Here are the most popular forms of Maryland:
- Complaint about Child Support CC-DR-0 CC-DRIN-002
- Petition about Contempt (Failure to Pay)
- Instructions CC-DR-003
- Complaint about Custody
- Instructions CC-DR-004
- Complaint about Visitation
- Instructions CCDR5
- Motion to Modify Child Support
- Instructions CC-DR-006
- Petition to Modify Custody/Visitation
- Instructions DR7
- Petition for Enforcement of a Foreign Child Custody Determination
- Instructions CCDR78
- Application about the Issuance of a Warrant DR80
- Counter Complaint about Custody/Child Support
- Instructions CC-DR-095
- Complaint about Absolute Divorce
- Instructions CC-DR-020
- Motion about Restoration of Former Name
- Instructions CC-DR-097
- Financial Statement (Child Support Guidelines) CC-DR-030
- Civil-Domestic Case Information Report CC-DCM-001
All the documents above are essential for the Superior Court of Maryland, but you should remember that you cannot send them to the court online or by post. Only hand-delivery is possible.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Maryland
Well, in Maryland, the Superior Court doesn’t allow you to serve your spouse by yourself. You may use the help of the Sheriff. The fee of the Sheriff service will cost you about $40. When the Sheriff delivers the documents, your spouse should sign the notice that the Sheriff conducted a delivery in time, with no prolongations. You can also serve your spouse with the paperwork by Certified mail. Also, you can ask to hand the paperwork any person who is older than 18 and who is not involved in your divorce case.
Online Divorce in Maryland
Online Divorce is a so to say tool, that allows you to get all the documents prepared for the court without any extra fees. The couple serves themselves with everything needed. The structure of the process is pretty simple:
- You find the site and order the documents you need.
- You pay a fee for dealing with the documents.
- You wait for a short period of time.
- You get all the ready forms to your email.
- You print the papers and file with the court.
Online Divorce as you see, a pretty easy deal, but you should be ready to deal with the whole process carefully, not to lose time and money.
Rules for Child Support in Maryland
In Maryland, you should care for the children in any case. The court will make the decision according to the child’s wellness and comfort only. Here are some items that influence the child support regulation:
- The health state of both parents.
- The material state of both parents.
- The future perspectives of both parents.
- The location of both parents.
- The number of children.
- The age of the children.
The physical custody involves the majority of the expenses for the child and the total care. In Maryland, both parents support their children until they are 21 years old. The child visitation also plays an important role in the child custody. Both parents should visit a child, regarding the regulations of the Superior Court.
Rules for Spousal Support in Maryland
The spousal support (the alimony) of one of the spouses is also involved in the Uncontested Divorce case. In Maryland, the Superior Court deals with issues concerning the alimony. Here they are:
- The total income of both spouses.
- The marriage term of the couple.
- The place of children living, who they live with.
- The tax rate of both spouses.
- The health state of both spouses.
- The future financial viewpoints of both spouses.
The Court searches for all the documents and evidence, only after that the decision regarding the alimony is available and powerful. The spouses should do their best to agree about the sum of the alimony in advance, to make the process faster.
Division of property in Maryland
The Superior Court makes a decision about the division of the property concerning various items, such as:
- The contribution of each spouse to the common marital property.
- The value of the common marital property.
- The current financial circumstances of each spouse.
There are two main types of the common property:
- The marital property.
- The individual property.
The marital property can be shared, but the individual property belongs to one of the spouses so it is not shared at all. There is some property that is considered as an individual one:
- The property that is considered to be a gift.
- The property that was bought a long period before the marriage by one of the spouses.
- The property belonged to one of the spouses after a Divorce Decree.
The Superior Court investigates all the tiny issues to make a clear understanding of the marital and individual property. You should provide the Superior Court with all the needed documents for the case.
Divorce Mediation in Maryland
The Divorce Mediation is a procedure that is needed for the Contested Divorce. Both spouses have a lawyer and try to get to the conclusion together on unclear questions. In Maryland, the Superior Court establishes a Mediation procedure, if the spouses tend to have a Contested case. As a rule, the Mediation process is hardly used if we speak about the Uncontested Divorce, but anyway, the Mediator can just help any couple to get an agreement and to omit going to the courtroom.
How to divorce a missing spouse in Maryland
In Maryland, if one of the spouses is missed, another spouse begins to search for him/her followed by Service by Publication. This Publication means that you put in the local newspapers and journals the photo of your spouse and sign the photo as a “missed person or my missing spouse”. People will read and help you to find your spouse. You should ask the relatives, friends, co-workers and other people who can possess any information about your missing spouse. The Superior Court will help you to search for your missing spouse if you have already done a self-search beforehand. In general, if your missing spouse is still not found, the Superior Court will permit getting a divorce without his/her presence.
The Default Divorce in Maryland
If you want to get a divorce from the Defendant, but he/she does not respond to your Petition and does not want to sign the papers, your case is a Default one. You should sign a Request for Order of Default with the Superior Court. If your divorce is Default, you should prepare other papers for this type of the divorce, and if everything is approved by the court, after some period of time you will finally get a Final Decree.
Default vs No-Fault Divorce in Maryland
The No-Fault (Uncontested) Divorce is much easier than a Default Divorce, due to its rapidity, low cost, and agreeable terms. The Contested Divorce has its various specific requirements regarding the case. If your spouse is currently living in Maryland, there are 30 days from the date of a Petition signing to serve your spouse with it and all other documents for the divorce process. The Default Divorce is not for those ones, who prefer a comfort and practical life, so make your own choice.
How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in Maryland?
The first step to get a Maryland divorce process is to file with the court a Complaint about Absolute Divorce. You can also supply the requests for spousal support and child custody. Do not forget about the marriage Certificate, it is the most vivid document in your common life. As soon as you file the Complaint and pay the filing fee, the Superior Court grants a Writ of Summons. You should serve your spouse with it within 30 days term. In Maryland, firstly you need to inform your spouse about your forthcoming plans to divorce him/her. Your spouse rejects the documents or does not respond you. You claim about it to the Superior Court. The court schedules a Default Hearing.
Annulment of the marriage in Maryland
The annulment of the marriage is a well-spread action in Maryland. There are several grounds for the annulment of the marriage. Here they are:
- One of the spouses couldn’t recognize what the legal marriage was.
- One of the spouses was under 18 years old at the marriage registration.
- Both spouses are blood relatives.
- One of the spouses has another legal marriage.
- The marriage is a fraud.
The spouses are considered to be never married before, and the Superior Court solves the child custody problem and the marital property. All other issues are solved individually.
Legal Separation in Maryland
The Legal Separation is a regular proceeding in Maryland. The spouses don’t divorce legally, but they live separately and have no opportunity to marry someone else until their marriage is totally completed by the Superior Court. in Maryland, there is 1 year for the spouses to live in the legal separation and then divorce. If one of the spouses breaks this law and begins to live with somebody before the marriage termination, another spouse can claim that it is an adultery, and the divorce case may be converted into a Contested one.
The Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
In Maryland, the same-sex couples have the same rights to divorce and marry as any other standard couple. There are several stipulations of the same-sex couples in Maryland:
- January 2013: Maryland began dealing with marriages and divorces of the same-sex couples.
- 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, granting the same-sex couples the same rights to marry and divorce as any other couple.
The domestic partnership is also considered to be a legal cohabitation and has legal rights. The same-sex couples should require the same residency requirements, rules of the spousal and child support, etc.
Military Divorce in Maryland
To divorce a military spouse in Maryland, you should inform him/her about the divorce proceedings long before the divorce itself. You should ask the commander of your military spouse or any other legal body about his/her position and location. If the situation is not critical, you should visit your spouse by yourself or send the documents by post or official email to file with the court. It may be that the spouse is currently having active military actions. In such a case you’d better wait for a particular period of time to continue the divorce procedure.
How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Maryland
To divorce a spouse who is in a jail, you should keep the same regulations as for any other divorce case. The whole process including the serving process, the mediation procedure, and others are also similar. The Superior Court will have a conclusion according to the individual details of the case.
Divorce filing fee
In Maryland, to get an Uncontested Divorce, you should approximately pay about $165 of a filing fee to cover the court service. Some cases may include additional fees (for example, the Sheriff’s fee - about $40). In comparison with the lawyer help and the significant cost for this help, Online Divorce will save you a big sum of money.
Can a filing fee be waived?
In Maryland, the fee for the divorce may be waived.
You have to provide the Superior Court with all the important information about your financial situation, future financial possibilities, debts, the tax rate, etc to prove that you really can't afford to pay the fee. The Superior Court will grant you a Sheet on Waiver of the Superior Court Fees, that you will fill. After that, you will wait for the decision of the court.
How we can help
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