While no one enters into a marriage thinking about divorce, it is the outcome for some couples. It may be no one’s fault, it may be due to the actions of one person, or it may be due to unforeseen circumstances.
Whatever the situation may be, the reality is that some marriages do end in divorce. In 2019, there were 2.7 divorces and annulments for every 1,000 people in Maryland, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Filing for divorce is a complex and emotional process. No matter what your circumstances are, you should work with an attorney who understands the law and wants to support you during this difficult time. The team at Lebovitz Law LLC wants to help clients keep costs down while leveraging their experience in family law matters to your advantage. Working with clients in Towson, Maryland and throughout the state, Lebovitz Law LLC has provided legal representation and protected clients’ rights in and out of court for over 30 years.
To be eligible to file for divorce in Maryland, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. In Maryland, there are two types of divorce: absolute and limited.
In an absolute divorce, every issue is settled, including property. After the absolute divorce is finalized, each person may remarry.
In a limited divorce, the marriage is not ended. Important issues are settled during this time, including child custody and finances. After a limited divorce, you may be eligible for an absolute divorce.
Before the court can grant a divorce, one of the spouses must prove that at least one ground (also known as a legal reason) exists.
One ground for divorce is separation, which is when the spouses live apart and do not have sexual intercourse during the time they are living apart.
There are different grounds for limited divorce (which include separation, cruelty and excessively vicious conduct, and desertion) versus absolute divorce (which include mutual consent, adultery, imprisonment for a crime, and insanity).
In a fault divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse has acted with misconduct. Fault divorces most often are contested, meaning that you’ll have to prove the misconduct in court.
In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse alleges that the other has acted with misconduct. The couple can file for a no-fault divorce if they have lived apart, without having sexual intercourse, for at least one year, or if they have submitted a settlement agreement.
When it is time to file, you should understand whether your divorce will be contested, uncontested, or in the best-case scenario, an uncontested mutual consent divorce.
In a contested divorce, the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. In this situation, you must go to trial. A judge will have the final word on important issues in the marriage, such as the division of property and the parenting plan for the children.
Sometimes, the divorce may start out as a difficult and contested process, but along the way, the couple may find a way to settle things more amicably, usually with the help of mediators or attorneys. In that situation, a divorce that started out as contested may become uncontested, and in the best-case scenario, it becomes a mutual consent divorce.
If you and your spouse can complete a settlement agreement before you file for divorce, then you may obtain an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent. A settlement agreement addresses all issues that need to be decided before your marriage can end. Most importantly, if you have children, it must include a parenting plan that outlines how your children will be cared for after the divorce. This settlement agreement must be written and signed.
In an uncontested mutual consent divorce, the couple does not have to pay for the expenses of going to trial, nor do they have to spend their time in a trial.
After filing, an uncontested divorce will typically take two to three months to be finalized. A contested divorce will generally take up to eighteen months to be finalized. The divorce will be finalized thirty days after the judge signs the final decree, as long as there is no appeal.
No matter the type of divorce, the process can be difficult to navigate on your own. A family law attorney can help you every step of the way, from determining your eligibility and the grounds for divorce to settling on the ideal child custody agreement. Lebovitz Law LLC can guide you through this complex process during this challenging time. The team has helped clients in Towson, Baltimore County, throughout the state of Maryland, and in York, Pennsylvania as well. Contact Lebovitz Law LLC for a consultation today.