There are two types of divorce in Maryland.
Absolute Divorce. This type of divorce is the legal end of your marriage. The stipulations in your marriage contract regarding property and other issues are settled. It also enables you to remarry. There are a few factors that can lead to grounds for divorce in Maryland. They include: adultery, imprisonment of a spouse and mutual consent. If your situation is deemed a mutual consent divorce, you are able to file for a “no-fault” divorce.
Limited Divorce. If you and your spouse are not ready or eligible for an absolute divorce, but need some important issue settled, such as finances or child custody, you may opt for a limited divorce. A limited divorce settles important and crucial issues, but does not put a legal end to your marriage.
What about Legal Separation?
It is important to know that there is no such thing as “legal separation” under Maryland law. If you and your spouse have been living apart with no intention of reconciling and with the intention of terminating the marriage and have not had sexual intercourse since, separation is recognized. Depending on how long you’ve been living separately, separation is a legal or valid ground for filing for a divorce.
Why do I need a lawyer?
If you are not a licensed family or divorce lawyer, divorce can be tricky. Having a lawyer is advisable to help you navigate the tricky waters of divorce. If your spouse is consulting and being represented by a lawyer, it is highly recommended that you have the same protection and support. The settlement of major issues like child custody, child support, and asset and property division will have a profound and high impact on your life and that of your child in the long run for the rest of your lives.
What legal forms are necessary to file for a divorce?
To begin or open a divorce case, use the Complaint/Counter-Complaint for Absolute Divorce or form CC-DR-020 or the Complaint/Counter-Complaint for Limited Divorce or form CC-DR-021.
To respond to a divorce case or plea that your spouse filed, use Answer Form CC-DR-050 and Counter-Complaint CC-DR-020/021.
Furthermore, filing a Civil Domestic Information Report or form CC-DCM-001, Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning Marital and Non-Marital Property or form CC-DR-033, financial forms, a settlement agreement, and fee waiver forms are also required or necessary.
How does one file for a divorce?
When initiating or opening a case, you will need to file your divorce documents in the circuit court in the specific county of your residence. Have copies for your spouse and keep one for yourself. The spouse who filed the complaint must provide a copy of the initial complaint to their spouse, also called as the service process. It is also important that you send proof to the court that your spouse actually received their own copy. Please remember to conscientiously follow these steps to the letter.
When responding to a case opened by your spouse, you have thirty (30) days to answer the complaint, if you are a Maryland resident. If you live in another state, you have sixty (60) days to answer and ninety (90) days if you reside outside of the US.
It is very important and cannot be emphasized enough that you mail every motion or document filed in court to your spouse and inform the court by filling out and completing the Certificate of Service section, which can be found at the end of the Answer or Counter-Complaint form. Feel free to call (301) 889-8085 or schedule a consultation online to speak with an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer.