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What kinds of divorce can be sought in Maryland?

There are currently two types of divorce that can be requested in the state of Maryland at this time: limited divorce and absolute divorce. Each kind of divorce has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Partners may also opt to seek a limited divorce and then an absolute divorce if they want.

What is an absolute divorce?

An absolute divorce will effectively end a marriage. Couples cannot change their minds after getting an absolute divorce. However, they may choose to remarry themselves or other partners once the absolute divorce is final.

Why would someone want an absolute divorce?

There are many reasons why people ask for an absolute divorce. Some couples may have fallen out of love with one another, or one partner may want to pursue a romantic relationship with someone else. Others may feel that it’s just time to move on.

What are the grounds required for an absolute divorce?

Whenever a divorce is sought, the person requesting the divorce is usually asked to supply reasons (also known as grounds). The exception to this rule is if both parties have agreed to mutually consent to the divorce. Some of the common grounds for divorce are as follows:

  • Insanity
  • Imprisonment
  • Desertion
  • Separation
  • Adultery
  • Excessively vicious or cruel conduct toward a spouse or their minor children

People who list any or all these grounds for divorce may also need to provide evidence of those claims. Photos of bruises, hospital and police records and witness testimony may be necessary to establish that an abusive pattern of behavior existed or that the person filing for divorce (also referred to as the plaintiff) had reason to believe that their life or the lives of their children could be in danger.

Both parties will receive copies of that paperwork. The plaintiff will also be responsible for ensuring that the other party (also known as the defendant) is served with a copy of the divorce papers. They must prove to the court that they were served with this information.

How can I ask for an absolute divorce?

You can begin by going to your local circuit court and filing for divorce. You’ll need to fill out a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. Financial records, a Civil Domestic Information Report and other documents may need to be attached to this complaint, depending on the situation.

Do both parties need to mutually consent to an absolute divorce?

Both partners don’t need to agree to an absolute divorce. However, it can make the process much easier. Partners who mutually consent to a divorce and have prepared a marital settlement agreement may find that it takes much less time for the divorce to be finalized.

One person can choose to contest the divorce if they want. They can also raise counterclaims against the other partner.

How long does it take to get an absolute divorce?

Every divorce case is different. Some divorces are granted after only a few weeks, while others may take months or even years to complete. There are many variables that contribute to the length of time that’s necessary for a divorce to be granted.

Things can take considerably longer if there are disagreements about items such as property division, child support and alimony. You can also expect to spend more time in the courtroom if one party contests the divorce. There will be additional hours devoted to their claims, testimony and evidence that their side presents.

Can I change my mind about getting an absolute divorce?

If you have doubts or concerns regarding an absolute divorce, you may want to consider asking for a limited divorce instead. This type of divorce is somewhat similar to a temporary separation, even though that status isn’t officially recognized by Maryland as of this writing. It can give you enough time to make determinations as to child visitation, child support, alimony, property division and other matters.

What happens if I don’t respond to the divorce request?

You aren’t legally obligated to reply to divorce papers that are served to you. There is a time frame for responding to the initial complaint. Just keep in mind that failing to reply or appear in court could result in a default divorce judgment being awarded to the plaintiff.

If you don’t respond to the divorce papers and have not completed a marital settlement agreement, you will most likely be unable to object to any alimony, child support or child visitation that is made by a judge during divorce proceedings. You’ll have to abide by the decisions that were made. You may appeal the ruling if your income has changed due to reduced hours or the loss of a job, a medical emergency, or other situations.

Do I need to have a martial settlement agreement prepared before the court proceedings for an absolute divorce begin?

Although having a completed marital settlement agreement can simplify things, it isn’t required before divorce proceedings begin. Some couples may have been unable to agree on certain aspects such as alimony, child support or asset division before the first hearing. A judge can make those determinations for them. The best interests of any affected minor children that the couple had will also be taken into consideration. If the couple does have a marital settlement agreement, the court is usually bound to those arrangements, unless it is revealed that one party would have an unfair advantage over the other.

Divorce can be complicated. There will be many things that will need to be taken into consideration. Ending a marriage will also forever change personal relationships.

It’s okay to have concerns about divorce. If you have questions, we’ve got answers. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We’ll sit down with you and listen to what you have to say. Our trained professionals will advise you as to possible next steps and can even represent you in court if you wish. It may take some time to get over a divorce, but we’ll make every effort to make the process less stressful. We want you to get back on your feet and enjoying your life again as soon as possible.