Maryland divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Maryland
An uncontested divorce is the more comfortable method to legally terminate a marriage between the two. It indicates that the spouses have mutual desire to terminate the divorce and have come to an agreement on all the controversial issues. A contested divorce on the other hand, is much more complicated. It is when the couple are unable to find common ground and require help in negotiating all the issues. They may turn to a lawyer or other legal body to help guide them through the process. While an uncontested divorce is quite simple and can take even just a few days, a contested divorce can last up to a year or even more. Furthermore, a contested one costs a lot more because of the need to hire an attorney. Overall, an uncontested divorce can help you save you time and money.
Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
An uncontested divorce, as we have already mentioned, is a truly amicable divorce process where both spouses agree to terminate the marriage. There are several grounds for an uncontested divorce.
Grounds for Divorce in Maryland
The grounds for Divorce in Maryland are as follows:
- 1 year of Separation
- Violent behavior towards any member of the family
- Incurable disease of one of the spouses
- Mental sickness
- Excessive alcoholism of one of the spouses
- Physical or mental abuse
The 1-year separation is the only no-fault ground and main ground for an uncontested divorce in Maryland. The spouses must be able to handle all the items that need to be discussed but not reveal them to the public as the case will no longer be considered to be uncontested.
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Maryland Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
In Maryland, there are two unique residency requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce under Maryland jurisdiction:
- The divorcing couple should live independently for at least 12 months before they file for marriage termination. Otherwise, the Petitioner has to show that there are some Fault-grounds for the divorce procedure. This 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 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 residency requirements are failed to be met, there will be a delay in the process of granting the uncontested divorce. It may also cost more money, so be attentive.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
To begin the divorce, the Petitioner must file a “Complaint about Absolute Divorce” and “Civil Domestic Case Information Report”. The Petitioner must then inform their spouse of the divorce process by serving them with the requirement documents. This can be either through the County Sheriff, anyone over the age of 18, or the mail. The Defendant then has 21 days to respond to the Petition. After the time period, the court will appoint the first hearing. One thing to keep in mind is that the divorce procedure should take place in the particular county where one of the spouses currently lives.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Maryland
DIY divorce has been gaining in popularity recently. It is where the spouses complete all the steps of the divorce process without the help of a legal body. This includes preparing all the necessary documents and representing themselves in court. A big advantage of such a process is that the couples are able to save a lot of money on attorney fees. However, a DIY divorce can be quite risky if you are unsure of the process. For example, if you prepare and file the documents incorrectly, the court will reject them and the overall divorce process will be delayed. As a result, you should always investigate the peculiarities of a DIY divorce beforehand.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Maryland
The average cost of divorce in Maryland is $14,500 including attorney fees. This number can vary depending on different issues such as the number of children, property division, and others. An uncontested divorce can be an economical option since there is no need to pay for attorney fees. The minimum cost of an uncontested divorce in Maryland is equal to the filing fee (about $165). If you decide to use online services for document preparation, it will only cost $149 with no other hidden fees or additional charges.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Maryland
Maryland legislation states that a couple has to wait at least 60 days since the day they file a Petition to be granted the Final Decree by the Superior Court. This is the case for uncontested divorces. A contested divorce may last up to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the issues at hand.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Maryland
In Maryland, the Superior Court does not allow you to serve your spouse yourself. You may use the help of the Sheriff, which will cost you around $40. This method will guarantee the delivery without any delays. You can also have the documents delivered either through certified mail or someone is over the age of 18 who is not involved in your divorce case.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Maryland
Preparation of documents is the most important step of the entire divorce process. Below is a basic list of the general documents you will need to file for divorce in 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
Note that not all of these will be required as it will depend on the individual case. Furthermore, the documents must be filed physically at court; the court does not accept deliveries through the post or email.
Online Divorce in Maryland
Online divorce refers to the process of document preparation through the help of online services. There are several steps to the process:
- Find the site and order the documents you need.
- Pay a fee for dealing with the documents.
- Wait for a short period of time.
- Receive all the prepared forms in your email.
- Print the papers and file them with the court.
Online divorce can be an easy method to help save you a lot of time and money.
Rules for Child Support in Maryland
The court makes the decision regarding child support that is in the best interests of the child. There are some items that the court takes into consideration when making this decision:
- Health state of both parents.
- Material state of both parents.
- Future financial outlook of both parents.
- Location of both parents.
- Number of children.
- Age of the children.
Physical custody involves the majority of expenses for the child and total care. In Maryland, both parents are required to support their children until they become 21 years of age. Child visitation also plays an important role in child custody; both parents should visit the child according to the regulations of the Superior Court.
Rules for Spousal Support in Maryland
Spousal support (alimony) is also involved in uncontested divorce cases. In Maryland, the Superior Court considers several factors when making a decision regarding alimony:
- Total income of both spouses.
- The marriage term.
- Where and with whom the child will be living with.
- Tax rate of both spouses.
- Health state of both spouses.
- Future financial outlook of both spouses.
The Court examines all these information before making a decision on alimony. The spouses should also attempt to agree on this issue beforehand in order to help make the process faster.
Division of property in Maryland
The Superior Court makes a decision on property division by taking into consideration factors such as:
- Contribution of each spouse to the common marital property.
- Value of the common marital property.
- Current financial circumstances of each spouse.
There are two main types of property:
- Marital property.
- Individual property.
Marital property is divided while individual property is not. There are certain characteristics that make a property individual:
- Property that is considered to be a gift.
- Property that was purchased individually by one of the spouses long before the marriage.
- The property belongs to one of the spouses after a Divorce Decree.
The Superior Court investigates all the small details in order to get a clear understanding between marital and individual property. You should provide the court with all the necessary documents regarding this issue.
Divorce Mediation in Maryland
Divorce mediation is required for contested cases. In a mediation session, both spouses attempt to negotiate and come to terms on the issues of divorce with the help of a third party mediator. It is not required for uncontested cases
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How to divorce a missing spouse in Maryland
In order to divorce a missing spouse, you must first try your best to locate them. If you are unable to find them and can provide proof to the court of your efforts, you will be granted Service by Publication. You will publish a missing person report with your intent to divorce in the local newspaper. After some time, if your spouse continues to be missing, the Superior Court will grant your the divorce without their presence.
Default Divorce in Maryland
If the Defendant fails or refuses to respond to your Petition, you will be granted a default divorce. You should sign a Request for Order of Default with the Superior Court. You need to prepare the necessary documents, and if they are approved by the court, you will be granted the Final Decree after some time.
Default vs No-Fault Divorce in Maryland
A No-Fault (uncontested) divorce is much easier than a default one due to its lost costs and fast process. A contested divorce has its various specific requirements regarding the case. If your spouse is currently living in Maryland, you have 30 days from the day you file the Petition to serve them with the necessary documents.
How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in Maryland?
The first step to file for a divorce process in Maryland is to file a Complaint about Absolute Divorce with the court. You can also supply the requests for spousal support and child custody. It is important to not forget about the marriage certificate, as 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 in within 30 days. If your spouse fails or refuses to respond, the court schedules a default hearing.
Annulment of the marriage in Maryland
Annulment of marriage happens quite often in Maryland. There are several grounds for annulment of marriage:
- One of the spouses couldn’t recognize what the legal marriage was at the time of marriage registration.
- One of the spouses was under 18 years of age at the time of marriage registration.
- One of the spouses has another legal marriage.
- The marriage was a result of a fraud.
An annulment considers a marriage to have never existed. However, the Superior Court solves the issues regarding child custody and marital property division. All other issues are solved individually.
Legal Separation in Maryland
Legal separation is when spouses live separately but still remain legally married. They are not allowed to remarry until they official terminate their marriage. In Maryland, spouses must live separately for 1 year before they can file for divorce. If one of the spouses break this rule and cohabitate with someone else during this period, the other spouse can claim adultery and the case may be converted to a contested one.
Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
Same-sex couples have the same rights to divorce as any other standard couples. There are several stipulations for same-sex couples in Maryland:
- January 2013: Maryland began dealing with marriages and divorces of same-sex couples.
- 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, granting same-sex couples the same rights to marry and divorce as any other couple.
Domestic partnership is also considered to be a legal cohabitation and has legal rights. Same-sex couples also need to meet the same residency requirements and follow the same steps of the standard divorce proess.
Military Divorce in Maryland
To divorce a military spouse, you should inform them of the divorce proceedings long before the process starts. You should ask the commander of your military spouse for your spouse’s location. You can deliver the documents yourself or through the post or email. In the case where your spouse is on active duty, you will have to wait until they finish in order to continue with the divorce process.
How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Maryland
The divorce process with a spouse in jail has the same regulations as any other divorce case. It includes document preparation, serving process, mediation procedure, and all others. The Superior Court will make a decision depending on the individual details of the case.
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Divorce filing fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a filing fee be waived?
The filing fee may be waived in Maryland. You have to provide the Superior Court with proof of your financial difficulties and file a Waiver of the Superior Court Fees. The court will then either approve or reject your request.
How we can help
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