Understanding the Lengthy Divorce Process in Maryland
Once divorce proceedings begin, the stages of a Maryland divorce are much like those of any other state, and involve petitions, discovery and considerations for property division, child custody agreements and alimony. On average, a Maryland divorce takes approximately 2 weeks up to more than a year—that is, once proceedings have begun.
The major difference that separates the divorce process in Maryland from many other states is what you must go through before you can even file for divorce.
The state’s courts are extremely strict on what constitutes grounds for absolute divorce. This means that the amount of time it takes to even be able to file for Maryland divorce can run in excess of 2 or 3 years.
With the time-consuming nature and detailed rules involved in the divorce process in Maryland, you may want to seek help from a Glen Burnie divorce attorney in the earliest stage of your divorce, to help prevent unnecessary hang-ups that will drag out the divorce process in Maryland longer than necessary.
Meeting Grounds for Maryland Divorce
The state’s grounds for divorce are what drag out the process so much. In fact, your Glen Burnie divorce attorney will inform you that you must meet a number of requirements before you can even successfully file for a Maryland divorce.
Below are a number of different grounds for divorce and the separation periods you must complete before you can begin the divorce process in Maryland:
- Voluntary separation – you and your spouse must live in separate residences for 1 year and may not engage in sexual intercourse with one another for the entire year through the date your divorce is granted.
- Involuntary separation – when one spouse does not want to seek a Maryland divorce, you must live in separate residences for 2 years and may not engage in sexual intercourse with one another for the entire 2 years through the date your divorce is granted.
- Adultery, cruel treatment or violence –there is no waiting period and you may file for divorce as soon as you are separated for cruel treatment or violence and while you are still living together for adultery.
- Insanity – your spouse must have been in a mental institution for 3 years and one of you must have been a Maryland resident for at least 2 years.
- Desertion or felony conviction – separation must be at least 1 year.
In Maryland, the stages of an absolute divorce (which will allow you to remarry and seek your rights to your property) are complex. You’ll want a Glen Burnie divorce attorney to explain what can easily become a confusing process. In addition, your Glen Burnie divorce attorney can alert you to common mistakes to avoid prolonging your case.
Proceeding with a Limited or Absolute Maryland Divorce
If meeting the basic grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland seems too difficult, you may opt for a limited divorce. A Glen Burnie divorce attorney will advise you that a limited divorce may not grant you the freedom you seek, such as a permanent Maryland divorce, which allows you to remarry.
If you do opt for an absolute divorce, once you have fulfilled the state’s requirements and have grounds to file for a Maryland divorce, your case can proceed much like it can in any other state.
If you are the one who files for a Maryland divorce, you will take on the role of plaintiff, which may serve to your advantage, as your spouse will take on the role of defendant. This means that when you file the “complaint” for a Maryland divorce, your spouse and his Glen Burnie divorce attorney will have to confirm or deny your requests.
Completing Other Stages in a Maryland Divorce
At this point in your Maryland divorce, you and your spouse will have to draw up a separation agreement that addresses some of the following issues:
- property division (this will determine which assets, real estate and possessions each of you keep);
- Maryland spousal support;
- Maryland child custody;
- child support; and
- child visitation.
When you and your spouse have issues agreeing to the terms of your Maryland divorce, (known as a contested divorce) a Glen Burnie divorce attorney will be of utmost importance. If your divorce is contested, numerous petitions may have to be filed and a trial conducted before the case is finalized. A Glen Burnie divorce attorney can manage these often complicated legal documents and fight to protect your rights as you deal with the changes in your life.
Contacting a Glen Burnie Divorce Attorney
The Glen Burnie divorce attorneys at Jimeno & Gray, P.A., understand the nuances of divorce, child custody and alimony in Maryland. Our Glen Burnie divorce attorney team is ready to help you with your family law needs. Contact us today for a consultation – 410-590-9401