Maryland Divorce Process
If you want the family courts in Maryland to dissolve your marriage, you must ask them to grant you an absolute divorce. Only once a judge has issued a Judgment of Absolute Divorce, you can then marry another person in the future. In total, there are ten steps in the Maryland divorce process, and our knowledgeable family attorney outlines what these are below.
Completing the Complaint for Absolute Divorce
The divorce process in Maryland officially begins when one spouse files a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the family courts. Spouses do not have to agree to the divorce, and the party filing can either file on the grounds of fault, or they can file a no-fault divorce.
Completing Other Court Documents
Depending on your situation, you may also have to complete other court documents and attach these to the complaint. For example, if you have a property settlement agreement or a financial statement for alimony or child support, you should submit these to the court along with your initial complaint.
Filing the Forms
You must file the forms with the clerk at the courthouse. At this time, you can also request that the required prepayment of fees is waived. After five days, you can call the clerk to ask if your motion to have fees waived was granted. If it was, you must file this motion with the other forms and if the fees were not waived, you are required to pay the filing fee.
Serving Your Spouse
You must notify your spouse that you have filed for divorce so they can prepare their own arguments and respond to any allegations you made. You only have a certain amount of time to serve your spouse and there are specific requirements on how to do it, so it is important to work with a family lawyer who can make sure your spouse is served properly.
Return Completed Affidavit of Service
If you used a certain method to serve your spouse, such as certified mail, you will also need to complete an Affidavit of Service.
Request for Default Order
Your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to the divorce complaint. If they do not, you can request an Order of Default. If the request is approved, you will receive your Default Order in the mail.
Request for Master’s Hearing or Trial on Merits
After you have been granted an Order of Default or you have received an Answer, you can then file a Request for Master’s Hearing or a Trial on Merits. A court date will be set and you must attend this hearing.
Division of Property
If there are issues pertaining to marital and non-marital property, you must file a Joint Statement of Parties Concerning Marital and Non-Marital Property.
The court hearing is when the issues involved in a divorce case are resolved. These can include disputes concerning property division, child custody, alimony, and more.
Once all of the issues in your case have been resolved, a judge will then issue a judgment outlining how the issues were resolved. The orders issued by a judge are final and legally binding.
Our Family Lawyer in Towson Can Help You Through the Maryland Divorce Process
When going through the Maryland divorce process, you should always work with a Towson family lawyer who can help you every step of the way. At Lebovitz Law, our seasoned attorney will make sure you are fully prepared so you have the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us now at (410) 657-6494 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.