Divorce is the termination of a marital union. Spouses filing for divorce are required to live apart for at least one year before their divorce is finalised. In order to obtain a divorce in the state of Maryland then the two spouses seeking absolute divorce must meet residency requirements, grounds and other legally prescribed laws.
In the case that the divorce is voluntary without cohabitation, the law requires either or both spouses to be residents of Maryland for at least a year. Prior to and at the time the divorce is filed.
Once the 12-month separation without any interruptions, is over the couple can file for an absolute divorce. The official form filed is called a “complaint about absolute divorce.” The other spouse then receives this complaint and has up to 30 days to respond if he or she resides in Maryland. If the spouse receiving the complaint lives in the United States but resides in another state outside Maryland then he or she has 60 days to respond to the complaint. In the case that the other spouse lives outside the United States then they have up to 90 days to respond to confirm its receipt. In order to give time to both parties to prepare a hearing takes place months after the complaint is filed. Whether or not the other spouse responds, the hearing will still take place and the court will proceed with the divorce as long as the service of processes has been completed correctly.
If the spouses are filing a divorce on fault reasons, then they may file immediately and not have to go through the minimum one-year separation which spouses filing on no-fault grounds have to abide by. A separation agreement, however, may shorten the amount of time and money spent in courtrooms. Sometimes a divorce based on fault grounds may last up to years. Acceptable fault grounds in Maryland include adultery, including homosexual acts whereby the evidence must be clear and convincing, cruelty which requires physical or extreme emotional harm to the complaining party and/or a child, abandonment in which one party leaves the marital residence without the other spouses consent or the conviction or imprisonment of one spouse for a year. Providing on a fault ground rather than a no-fault ground is much more complicated and time-consuming. However, it may be worth the effort as the proof of fault may have an effect on the division of marital property and alimony.
In Maryland, a limited divorce may be sought if the spouses do not fit the requirements of an absolute divorce. They are granted permission to live apart from each other despite remaining officially and legally married. This means that both spouses cannot remarry and it may be considered as adultery if they do date or engage in any sexual contact with another person. However, a limited divorce may be helpful in temporarily settling financial and custodial issues. If a limited divorce isn’t necessary then the spouses can file for a separation agreement before being allowed to file for an absolute divorce after one year of separation.
If you need a Maryland Divorce Lawyer to help you with your divorce case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland divorce attorneys can help you.