MUTUAL CONSENT DIVORCE MARYLAND – AN OVERVIEW
Mutual consent divorce in Maryland is a statute that allows couples to file for divorce without contest and without having to wait for the mandatory period of 12 months hitherto required. Moreover, according to mutual consent divorce Maryland law, a couple can choose to divorce even if they continue to stay in the same household during the entire divorce process.
The statute for mutual consent divorce Maryland came into practice in 2015, and the Commonwealth passed an amendment in 2018. Earlier uncontested divorce Maryland law allowed couples to file for divorce only if they had no children. But when the state revised the rule for uncontested divorce Maryland in 2018, the state expanded the scope of the law to include couples with children.
What distinguishes uncontested divorce Maryland from traditional divorces is that the former is cordial and amicable. In the case of uncontested divorce Maryland, both spouses harmoniously agree on the terms and conditions concerning children, property, and alimony. This type of uncontested divorce Maryland is known as no-fault divorce because both spouses can be free of guilt.
Why Maryland Needs Mutual Consent Divorce?
Only in 2015 could Maryland couples get a divorce if their case did not qualify for at least one of the following seven legal grounds for a divorce.
These seven grounds were:
- Cruelty towards a spouse or a child
- The vicious treatment of a spouse or a child
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with at least a three-year sentence
- An uninterrupted separation of at least 12 months
The divorce had to be based on specific misconduct by either of the spouses. There is no denying that wrongdoing plays a role in several divorce cases. Still, in many cases, the spouses may have compatibility issues and understand that they are better off apart, hence the divorce. Before the state created the mutual consent divorce Maryland statute, a couple had to live separately for at least 12 months before they were eligible for filing a divorce. This separation became very expensive for the couples because, in such instances, they had to bear the cost of two residences for an entire year before filing for divorce.
The mutual consent divorce Maryland statute did away with the 12-month waiting time required for filing a divorce. In addition, the mutual consent divorce Maryland law allowed the spouses to file for divorce without having to live separately, even for the shortest period. But despite the amendments in laws on mutual consent divorce Maryland, only some things are simplified.
Are You Eligible For Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland?
Like in other states, mutual consent divorce in Maryland comes with specific riders. For example, the reasons that two spouses choose the legal option for an uncontested divorce in Maryland must be made clear to the court for the divorce. For this purpose, they have to present specific details to the court.
Any couple considering a mutual consent divorce Maryland must prepare and submit the following paperwork to the court:
- The parting couple should submit a draft of a written mutual consent divorce agreement addressing all property and alimony issues.
- If the couple has children, they must present the court with a formal agreement that resolves all matters on child custody, parenting time, and child support. The couple must submit the guidelines worksheet with the contract if the couple has chosen to support mutual consent divorce Maryland.
- For a mutual consent divorce Maryland, the spouses must also establish that they have not changed their minds between the dates of the divorce hearing and submission of the settlement agreements listed above.
Uncontested divorce in Maryland how long does it take?
There is no prescribed time limit for an uncontested divorce in Maryland. However, it is necessary to remember that in the event of an uncontested divorce in Maryland, the couple must prepare the documents required for settlement. The court’s involvement, in this case, is modest. The court must not hear either of the spouses’ issues before deciding on uncontested divorce Maryland. To obtain a mutual consent divorce in Maryland, the spouses must settle all disputes peacefully. Since it is up to the couples to make all the decisions, they may not be able to do so in a way that precisely complies with the law. It is here the assistance of mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers comes into play.
Our attorney, with experience in mutual consent divorce Maryland can assist with both – creating the agreements following the law and defending both spouses’ rights. We at The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. are highly qualified and experienced lawyers specializing in uncontested divorce Maryland. Fix an appointment today if you are planning to file for mutual consent divorce Maryland anytime soon.
Uncontested divorce Maryland may all seem quite simple in theory, but the reality can be very different. For this reason, it is preferable to retain a skilled mutual consent divorce Maryland attorney to handle your case.
Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland Process
Although it is not required, it is always beneficial to retain a lawyer specializing in Maryland mutual consent divorce when filing for an uncontested divorce in Maryland. A mutual consent divorce Maryland attorney helps with the filing procedures of the case because they are familiar with the laws and requisite documentation, making the divorce process much more straightforward and seamless for their clients.
- Collecting the documents
- A Civil Domestic case information report has to be submitted. Maryland mutual consent divorce forms are available in the court, fill in your basic information, case details, and attorney details and submit.
- Those filing for mutual consent divorce Maryland need to present all the required documents about their various settlements. These mutual consent divorce settlement agreements Maryland should be final and signed by both parties.
- The spouses must submit copies of the civil domestic case information report for mutual consent divorce Maryland in court. This report contains essential information regarding the spouses, their case, and their attorney’s contact details.
- Maryland, uncontested divorce forms, is a legal document informing the court of all relevant information regarding the marriage and the children and reiterating that it is a mutual consent Maryland divorce and not a contested or separation based.
- The couple should present to the court a signed copy of the settlement agreement between the two spouses stating the resolution of the pending issues.
- The parting couple should submit a signed copy of the child custody access and support agreement for mutual consent divorce Maryland. This document is required if it is separate from the settlement agreement.
- The couple should also submit a child support guideline worksheet for uncontested divorce Maryland. The worksheet is crucial if either of the parents is required to pay for the Child Support.
- A joint request for scheduling an uncontested hearing on the grounds of mutual consent
- Mutual consent divorce form is mandatory in some Maryland counties for an uncontested divorce. This form asks the court to set a date for the uncontested divorce hearing.
It is crucial to remember that the spouses need not file the paperwork jointly to proceed with a mutual consent divorce Maryland. However, when the spouses present the requisite documents, the couple should also submit an affidavit of service in court. As is apparent, collecting the requisite information and drafting documents for such divorces is challenging. However, the Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. have an impressive battery of lawyers accomplished to do the same. To meet our lawyers, call now to schedule an appointment.
How to Reach an Agreement in Maryland Mutual Consent Divorce?
Opting for a mutual consent divorce Maryland is better than filing for a separation-based or contested divorce. Mutual consent divorce Maryland timeline is faster, less hostile, and costs much less than other divorces. Not only that, but mutual consent divorce Maryland also helps couples have better control over the divorce judgments than they would have in the different types of divorces.
Mutual consent divorce Maryland may appear extremely simple in theory, although it might be different in practice for all cases. It is because, in many instances, there could be several reasons for the spouses not agreeing to end their marriage amicably. In some cases where the spouses are antagonistic, the option of mutual consent divorce Maryland may seem remote. There can be cases wherein the couples broadly agree on the issues but not so when it comes to the finer details.
Fortunately, divorcing couples in mutual consent divorce Maryland has a variety of solutions at their hand to help with an amicable ending. But in such situations, the team could need the assistance of a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer to help them out. The attorneys at The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. know all divorce laws, including mutual consent Maryland. So in case you are searching for a skilled uncontested divorce Maryland lawyer, call us today.
If both couples retain attorneys for mutual consent divorce Maryland, it becomes much simpler for them to talk and come to mutually beneficial settlements. One can also use Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) in such cases. The spouses may agree on compromises through negotiations, collaborations, or mediation. On finalizing the terms, the couple must sign the contract. It is the most challenging aspect of a mutual consent divorce Maryland. Many times a mutual consent divorce Maryland case gets stuck when one or both parties to the divorce are unwilling to abide by the binding terms and conditions of the agreement. Once a couple has sailed through this phase, the rest of the process for uncontested divorce Maryland is not very challenging.
A mutual consent divorce Maryland hearing comes before a magistrate within 45 days of filing the divorce complaint and submitting the requisite documents.
How to file for an uncontested divorce in Maryland?
After collecting all the signed documents concerning uncontested divorce Maryland, submit three copies of each document to the court. Also, learn how much an uncontested divorce costs in Maryland. The spouses are also required to pay the filing fee. The payment can be made in cash, check, or electronically. The current fee for filing for mutual consent divorce Maryland is $165. For those filing mutual consent divorce Maryland and retaining legal counsel, their appearance fees are a separate expense. All three copies of the signed agreements, along with the filing fees, should be submitted to the Circuit Court family department in the County Courthouse. File one copy of these documents in court. The court clerk processes the other two copies and returns them to the couples for their records.
Before submitting the forms to the clerk’s office, the spouses must carefully review everything in the documents and ensure they have filled them out when filing for uncontested divorce Maryland. The clerks may not know or identify any missing information in these documents. They do the routine check. Double check with your mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers, as they have the knowledge and expertise to prepare similar documents thoroughly. Their experience counts in such cases; hire a lawyer today.
Mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers ensure that each document is complete before being submitted to the clerk’s office. If a divorcing couple does not hire a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer, they might make multiple trips to the clerk’s office. It may be exasperating and expensive for them and stretch the time for the mutual consent divorce Maryland process. The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. is one of the reputed legal firms dealing in cases of uncontested divorce Maryland. The firm has been helping hundreds of clients with hassle-free and amicable mutual consent divorce Maryland for several years.
Attending the Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland Hearing
After filing the complaint and all the requisite documents related to an uncontested divorce Maryland, the court schedules the case for a hearing before a family court judge in the next 45 days. When the mutual consent divorce law was first passed in 2015 by the state, both spouses were required to attend the Maryland uncontested divorce hearing questions. However, when the state revised the mutual consent divorce laws in 2018, Maryland removed the requirement for both spouses to be mandatorily present. Instead, the statute now states that at least one of the spouses, especially the one who has filed the divorce, must appear in court and present limited testimony.
When either or both the spouses make an appearance in court for mutual consent divorce Maryland, adhere to the following:
- Dress professionally
- Arrive on time for the hearing
- There should be no issues passing through the security and the metal detector checks.
- Get a copy of all the related documents and agreements with you.
When the case comes for hearing, the couple and their Maryland absolute divorce mutual consent lawyers are obligated to present a limited testimony to the court regarding the marriage and the settlement agreements.
If any couple’s mutual consent divorce Maryland settlement stipulates the split of retirement funds, extra documentation and testimony is needed. Such testimony is under oath, and the court hearing the uncontested divorce Maryland case records it. After completing this process, the court enquires about the settlement agreement from one or both spouses present at the hearing. Finally, the court places the uncontested divorce Maryland judgment to vote. If both spouses agree, the marriage will dissolve.
Every divorce need not go through child support, marital property distribution, or retirement assets. If both partners can reach amicable agreements on these terms, they can file for mutual consent divorce in Maryland more quickly and inexpensively than the traditional method. In addition, the separation is a more complicated process and requires an extensive legal process.
Resolving the Big Issues in Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland
The couple must resolve several issues before heading for a mutual consent divorce Maryland. These issues are:
- Maryland Property Division
The Maryland property law thrives on equitable distribution, and the court considers the following factors before dividing the property between spouses.
These factors are:
- The length of the marriage
- Property interests of both husband and wife
- The financial condition of the spouses
- The economic and non-economic contribution of each spouse in the family
- The reasons for the marriage breaking down
- The mental and physical illness of both husband and wife
- The date of acquisition of the marital property and the method of acquiring it
- The contribution of both spouses in the purchase of the property
- Whether the court has taken into consideration and granted alimony following the amount of time spent in the family home
- Any other factor
- Alimony or Spousal Support
Maryland recognizes three types of alimonies. They are temporary, indefinite, and rehabilitative. Post-hearing the case, the court determines the type of alimony for an uncontested divorce in Maryland. In each case, the court may decide upon the spousal support.
The court decides upon the type and the amount of alimony after considering the following factors.
These factors are –
- The matrimony period
- The standard of living maintained by both spouses during the marriage
- The ability of the spouse receiving the alimony to support themself
- The financial as well as non-financial contributions of both husband and wife to the marriage
- The reasons for the marriage breaking down
- Age of both husband and wife
- The mental as well as physical condition of both husband and wife
- The ability of the paying spouse to pay the alimony while meeting their own needs
- Any agreement between the spouses
- Whether or not the maintenance will affect the other spouse’s eligibility for medical benefits
- Maryland Child Custody Laws
Maryland recognizes two types of child custody:
- Legal custody – A parent can make decisions crucial to the child’s upbringing and development, such as education, religious affiliation, or health care needs.
- Physical custody – A parent or guardian who has physical custody is entitled to care for the child at home and provide for the child’s needs.
Maryland recognizes two types of custodial arrangements.
- Sole custody – When a parent has sole custody, they are the only ones with the power to decide on the child’s behalf.
- Joint custody – In this kind of custody, both parents share the physical possession of the child, and every decision affecting the child, is also taken jointly by them.
Maryland court considers the following factors while awarding the custody of a child in uncontested divorce Maryland.
- The physical and emotional capacity of each parent to take care of the child
- Each of the parent’s character
- Either of the parent’s wishes, if any
- The child’s wishes
- The age, gender, and health of the child
- The possibility of agreement between both the parents
- The case of all family members retaining their natural family relations
- Residences of each of the parents and their impact on the visitation schedules
- Duration of separation between the concerned parent and the child
Whether or not any of the parents have voluntarily given up custody of the child/children or abandoned them
- Child Support
- Maryland court considers the following factors when awarding Child Support for uncontested divorce Maryland.
- The financial capability of each of the parent
- The age and health condition of each parent
- The health of the child
- Quality of life before the divorce
- Educational needs of the child
- Whether or not the custodial parent has any other child to support
- The settlement agreement between the parents
- The current as well as the future income potential of each of the parent
- The willingness of the custodial parent to allow for visitation of the other parent
- Wishes of any of the parents for sole or joint custody
- The financial capability of the supporting parent to maintain two households
A child support calculator is available online for those who want to estimate the Child Support amount for their cases.
Finalizing Your Divorce in Maryland on mutual consent
In the case of mutual consent divorce Maryland, once both spouses have reached an agreement regarding all the issues, the spouse who filed the mutual consent divorce Maryland complaint needs to appear in court to give testimony regarding the marriage and the divorce. For a Maryland uncontested divorce, the plaintiff must also call a witness to corroborate their statement. In addition, both spouses must be present in court if the divorce is not by mutual consent or if they have yet to agree on all the issues outlined in the agreement mandatory for mutual consent divorce Maryland.
Once the plaintiff has filed for uncontested divorce Maryland, they then need to request the court for a date for the hearing of the case. On the hearing date, the plaintiff must bring a witness to testify about the plaintiff’s residency. The plaintiff must also carry copies of the marriage certificate, separation agreement, and information regarding their residency in Maryland.
The plaintiff must respond to the judge’s queries during the hearing. The defendant’s spouse, in this case, has an option as to whether to show up in court. The court reporter then recorded the final judgment and approved it by the judge. Once the court is satisfied with the documentation and the proper divorce order, the judge signs the divorce order and finalizes the divorce.
New Laws on Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland
A separate set of laws were prevalent in Maryland regarding divorces before October 2015. However, in October 2015, Maryland introduced a new type of divorce. As per this statute, couples without minor children in common were eligible to get a mutual consent divorce in Maryland without the mandatory 12-month separation previously required. But as mentioned earlier, for every such divorce, the couples must agree on every common factor concerning the marriage, including marital property.
In October 2018, a new revision to this law came into existence. According to the amended law, even spouses with young children were exempted from the 12-month separation requirement and made eligible to obtain mutual consent divorce Maryland. Submission of the written separation agreement is a prerequisite for such divorce cases. In addition, the contract for mutual consent divorce Maryland should provide information on the financial matters and minor children’s support, custody, and access.
The introduction of the mutual consent divorce Maryland law in 2015 and the revision in 2018 have been turning points in Maryland’s legal history. With this statute, getting a mutual consent divorce Maryland for couples with irreconcilable differences got much more uncomplicated. Historically, Maryland formulated a divorce law on mutual consent to discourage married couples from getting divorced, and as such, the process was complex, lengthy, and expensive. In the process, couples were discouraged from opting for dissolution. But with the introduction of the mutual consent divorce Maryland statute in 2015, the state shifted from its conventional perspectives on marriages and divorces. It introduced the mutual consent divorce Maryland law in 2015 and waived off the requirement for the third party witness.
During its inception in 2015, the mutual consent divorce Maryland became popular. But because it did not apply to couples who had young children, a significant number of unhappy couples still needed to be able to use mutual consent divorce Maryland provisions. Between October 2015 and October 2018, the 12-month separation remained the most common ground for mutual consent divorce Maryland for couples with minor children. However, there has been a change in the ways incompatible spouses with little children filed and obtained divorces when this requirement was waived off in mutual consent divorce Maryland laws in October 2018.
Do I Need A Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland Lawyer For Uncontested Divorce?
Nowadays, most people attempt to complete various legal formalities without consulting a professional. The same applies when it comes to mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers. In several cases, people try to save money by following the DIY route without consulting a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer and ultimately spend more. A mutual consent divorce Maryland is an easy process in the traditional litigation model. However, consulting a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer goes a long way in navigating the right path. On the other hand, doing everything alone could be time-consuming and error-prone, wasting time, energy, and money.
Hiring a Mutual Consent Divorce Maryland Lawyer for Traditional Litigation Can Be Expensive
When it comes to weddings, people can spend thousands of dollars without blinking an eye. But when it comes to dissolving the marriage, they look for easy and quick ways to divorce and do not want to spend money. They don’t realize they need a foolproof dissolution agreement to lead a peaceful life post-divorce. Only those in the law profession, like our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer, can pull it off quickly. Initially, such a prospect may seem cost-saving, but ultimately, it might prove otherwise. Suppose a couple is applying for divorce the traditional litigation way. In that case, there are various tasks and processes wherein they need the help of a lawyer, be it for preparing and filing the court paperwork, attending motions, negotiating with the other spouse’s attorney, or reviewing all the financial and personal documents. In traditional litigation, lawyers bill their clients by the hours. That is more hours spent on the case, the higher the bill. Therefore, it is always preferable to have low conflict cases so that the cost of uncontested divorce in Maryland does not go high.
Maryland Mutual Consent Process Lets You Get a Divorce without a Lawyer
Before 2015, even in cases where a couple wanted to dissolve their wedding amicably, traditional litigation was the only way to go. They still needed the 12-month mandatory separation before the judge would grant them a divorce. Then, in 2015, the Maryland legislature passed the mutual consent divorce Maryland law, which applied only to couples without children. At that time, the law was helpful only for couples without children. Then in 2018, when Maryland revised the mutual consent divorce law and included couples with children, it helped the teams who were hitherto not eligible for mutual consent divorce in Maryland.
Going for a mutual consent divorce in Maryland is better than traditional litigation because it saves an enormous amount of time and money and, of course, a lot of stress. If a divorcing couple engages a lawyer, the mutual consent divorce Maryland process is far faster than the standard litigation route and less expensive.
Consequently, it is always beneficial for couples seeking to file for mutual consent divorce Maryland to have legal counsel on board to help them comprehend the regulations and to make the entire procedure much smoother than it would otherwise be. In addition, the laws regarding mutual consent divorce Maryland do not make it mandatory for the spouses to live separately; a couple can continue to live together until they get the divorce decree. It helps them save money sharing a single household.
Mutual Concern Means Agreeing On Everything
- Going for a mutual consent divorce Maryland means that the divorcing couple agrees on the minutest of the aspects that come under the ambit of the divorce.
- Many times, couples may want to opt for mutual consent divorce Maryland but cannot do so because they cannot agree on specific issues.
- A couple may only think about skipping the process of hiring a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer and doing it all by themselves if they fulfill the following criteria:
- Sign and submit settlement agreements that address all their issues, including alimony and property
- Submit an agreement regarding their mutual consent divorce Maryland detailing all the provisions addressing the children’s care, custody, support, and access.
- Submit a court-approved worksheet on child support guidelines
- Neither of the spouses requests the court to annul the presented settlement agreements before the hearing of the mutual consent divorce Maryland commences.
- At least one of the spouses attending the hearing before the Maryland family court judge should be present.
As is apparent, preparing and submitting all the requisite agreements for mutual consent divorce Maryland is no child’s play. These agreements must detail every facet of the marriage, separation, and children involved. While few couples may be capable of preparing and submitting these agreements independently, it may not be possible for many divorcing couples. It is where lawyers experienced in mutual consent divorce Maryland play a significant role. Mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers help spouses align on the agreements’ terms and conditions. They consider the interests of all parties involved in the divorce while drafting the contracts. Mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers help save time and money in drafting and submitting the requisite documents.
Hiring a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer is wise.
Our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer helps you fill in and submit the forms on time for a quick dissolution. In addition, our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer offers legal advice for a smooth divorce. We walk with you every step to ensure a seamless and quick transition to your divorce. Though all the forms are available online, it isn’t easy to know which form you require and how to fill it up. The assistance of a reputed mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer comes in handy here.
Our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers are experienced in their craft, offering you a peaceful and stress-free dissolution. However, it is in your best interest to settle all mutual issues first. Remember that marital problems are not limited to spousal support, custody and visitation, asset division, debt management, and retirement assets; there is more to it. Putting every word in writing can help a great deal while drafting a Marital Settlement Agreement for a mutual consent divorce Maryland.
Our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers have mediated and drafted settlement agreements in the past and are doing it now. We aim to bring to the table all contentious issues and resolve them before preparing the final settlement. It gives the couple the to confront their future with confidence and certainty.
Why you should hire a lawyer?
Sometimes, couples may believe they can complete the uncontested divorce Maryland process without hiring a lawyer. However, significant advantages come with retaining a lawyer for a mutual consent divorce Maryland. First, a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer helps the couples decide whether mutual consent is the right way to proceed. Even if it is applicable, the lawyer helps the pair with the best advice at every step of the divorce procedure. Finally, mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers help couples prepare and submit their paperwork in court.
Mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers assist in reducing the time and expense associated with making several court appearances. In addition, they help resolve all the issues that a divorcing couple might face regarding divorce. Finally, couples can access consultation from mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers whenever they need. Even if it is not possible for an in-person visit, mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers help with virtual consultations. With so many benefits to accrue, hiring a mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyer is much more sensible.
Finding highly qualified and experienced lawyers for filing mutual consent divorce Maryland is relatively easy. The Law Offices of SRIS P.C. fits the bill perfectly herein. This law firm has handled similar cases and has the understanding to prepare an error-free agreement to help you seamlessly set in your post-divorce life. In addition, our lawyers are skilled and can resolve your uncontested divorce Maryland professionally.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced regarding all kinds of court proceedings, including those for uncontested divorce Maryland. Our lawyers know the many problems and challenges couples seek dissolution confront. Whether contested or uncontested dissolution, contact us now.
Terminating a marriage is a sensitive issue best left to legal professionals. It is a life-changing decision and can change your emotional, financial, and social status for life. Since many legalities are involved, choose a reputed uncontested divorce Maryland who can fight for your rights and get you a decree without complicating things any further. Hiring the Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. can help save significant time and money enabling you to navigate the Maryland uncontested divorce process with dignity. Our mutual consent divorce Maryland lawyers are committed and dedicated to their profession and try their best to bring about the desired results in your case. Contact our office for an appointment today! Call Now.