If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may wonder what your options are for divorce in Maryland. One option available to couples is a mutual consent divorce. In this guide, we’ll walk you through starting a mutual consent divorce in Maryland.
Starting a Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland
Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirements
Before beginning a mutual consent divorce in Maryland, you and your spouse must meet specific eligibility requirements. These requirements include:
Residency: At least one spouse must have been a resident of Maryland for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
Separation: You and your spouse must have lived separately and apart without cohabitation for at least 12 months.
Mutual Agreement: Both parties must agree to the divorce terms, including property division, custody, and support.
If you meet these requirements, you may proceed with a mutual consent divorce.
Step 2: File the Necessary Forms
To start the process of a mutual consent divorce, your attorney will work with you to file the necessary forms with the court in the county where you or your spouse resides. These can include the divorce complaint, joint statement of Parties Concerning the Marital Settlement Agreement, and a financial statement.
Step 3: Serve Your Spouse
After filing the necessary forms, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the Complaint for Absolute Divorce and the Joint Statement of Parties Concerning the Marital Settlement Agreement. You can do this by mail or through a process server. Your spouse will then have 30 days to respond to the complaint.
Step 4: Attend a Court Hearing
If your spouse agrees to the divorce terms, you must attend a court hearing to finalize the divorce. At the hearing, you must provide the judge with the Joint Statement of Parties Concerning the Marital Settlement Agreement and answer any questions the judge may have. If the judge approves the agreement, he or she will sign a Final Decree of Divorce.
Step 5: Follow Up on the Details
After the court hearing, you will need to follow up on the details of the divorce settlement. This may include transferring property, changing names, and updating insurance policies. If you have children, you will need to make sure that custody and support arrangements are implemented.
Cost of Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland
The cost of a mutual consent divorce in Maryland can vary depending on a number of factors, including attorney fees, court fees, and other costs associated with the divorce process.
Differences between Mutual Consent Divorce and Other Types of Divorce in Maryland
A mutual consent divorce is just one of several types of divorce available in Maryland. Other options include:
Limited Divorce: This option is similar to legal separation and allows couples to live apart while still remaining legally married.
Absolute Divorce: This is the final and complete dissolution of a marriage.
Contested Divorce: This is a divorce in which the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce settlement and must go to court to resolve their differences
There are several key differences between a mutual consent divorce and other types of divorce in Maryland. One of the biggest differences is that a mutual consent divorce requires that both parties agree to the terms of the divorce settlement. In a contested divorce, on the other hand, the spouses cannot agree and must go to court to resolve their differences.
Another difference is that a mutual consent divorce does not require a waiting period. Once the parties have lived separate and apart for 12 months, they can immediately file for divorce. In a contested divorce, there is a waiting period of one year if the parties do not have children and two years if they do.
When to Choose a Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland
A mutual consent divorce can be a good option for couples who are able to agree on the terms of their divorce settlement. This can help to save time and money and be less stressful than a contested divorce. However, it’s important to note that a mutual consent divorce may not be appropriate for everyone. If you and your spouse have significant disagreements about property division, custody, or support, a contested divorce may be a better option.
If you’re not sure which type of divorce is right for you, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney. An attorney can help you to understand your options and can guide you through the divorce process.
If you and your spouse are able to agree on the terms of your divorce, a mutual consent divorce may be a good option for your situation. To learn more about mutual consent divorce in Maryland, contact Petrelli Previtera to schedule a consultation with one of our Maryland divorce attorneys.