Family Law FAQ
Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

Maryland recognizes two (2) types of divorce, namely, limited divorce and absolute divorce.  In your complaint for divorce you must specify your ground(s) for divorce and state all the required elements; in other words, you must tell the court a legally acceptable reason why you are entitled to terminate your marriage. 

 

The legal grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland are: Cruelty, Excessively Vicious Conduct, Adultery, One Year Separation, Desertion, Constructive Desertion, Criminal Conviction (of certain crimes), and Insanity. You may provide the court with more than one ground for divorce even though they may initially seem inconsistent. For example, you may ask for divorce based on desertion, one year separation, and adultery as alternative grounds for absolute divorce all at the same time and in the same complaint for divorce. Contact our Maryland divorce lawyers for an appointment if you would like additional information or are seeking experienced, aggressive representation in your divorce case.

Alimony/Spousal Support in Maryland

A party may be entitled to receive alimony during the pendency of the divorce case, which is called pendente lite alimony. The rationale behind pendente lite alimony is that a spouse in need of support may not be able to wait to receive support from the other spouse while the parties are waiting for the final divorce trial, which could take a year or more from the date of initial filing with the court.  If you do not have the ability to pay for your reasonable living expenses while you are waiting for the final divorce trial and your spouse is able to financially contribute to assist you with your living expenses, you could obtain a court order for pendente lite alimony. 

 

The primary factor in deciding post-divorce alimony is the parties’ income and respective financial condition, although there are a number of other factors that could come into play. Unless the parties reach an agreement, a party requesting alimony must prove that he or she is entitled to receiving alimony under the law. In Maryland, alimony is either “rehabilitative” or “indefinite.” Rehabilitative alimony is intended to be a short-term measure after the parties’ divorce that would provide the spouse receiving alimony the time and opportunity to become self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony is for a fixed period within which the spouse receiving alimony is expected to become self-sufficient. Indefinite alimony is usually reserved for longer term marriages where one spouse has been financially dependent on the other spouse. Indefinite alimony continues until the death of one of the parties, until the party receiving alimony marries, or until the parties’ income and/or financial condition materially changes so that alimony is no longer necessary or should be reduced. Contact our Maryland divorce lawyers for an appointment if you would like additional information or are seeking experienced, aggressive representation in your divorce case.

Division of Marital Property in Maryland

Maryland is an equitable property State, which means that all marital property is divided equitably and fairly between the spouses.  Marital property is any and all properties that have been acquired by either or both parties during their marriage regardless of how they are titled.  Any property that was acquired by either spouse during their marriage is presumed to be marital property.  Pre-marital property, gifts, inheritance, and property that can be traced to such assets are not subject to equitable division under the Maryland law.  Most common examples of marital property include, but are not limited to, the value of a business or professional practice, equity in the house, pension plans and retirement accounts, automobiles, and bank accounts to the extent that they were accumulated during the marriage.

 

It is not uncommon for divorcing couples to decide the division of their assets with the assistance of their respective attorneys rather than litigating a divorce case and leaving it to the court’s decision. But if you are not able to reach an agreement, you can ask the court to resolve the dispute between you. Contact our Maryland divorce lawyers for an appointment if you would like additional information or are seeking experienced, aggressive representation in your divorce case.

Custody and Visitation of Children in Maryland

In Maryland, there are two types of custody: “physical custody” otherwise known as “residential custody” and “legal custody.”  The standard for determining physical custody is “the best interest” test.  In disputed cases, the court determines how a child’s best interest will be best served by a custody/visitation schedule.  The Court could determine whether it is in the best interest of a child for the parents to have joint physical custody, or alternatively, for one parent to have primary physical custody and provide access and visitation to the other parent.  Legal custody is the decision making ability of the parents regarding the major issues in a child’s life such as religion, education, and medical treatment. 

 

A custody order always remains modifiable, and if you have concerns with regard to the health and safety of your child due to the other parent’s conduct, you can file a motion to change a prior custody order. Contact our Maryland divorce lawyers for an appointment if you would like additional information or are seeking experienced, aggressive representation in your custody case.

Protective Orders in Maryland

Protective Orders are civil court orders that are designed to prevent your spouse from committing certain acts against you.  If you can prove that you are a victim of domestic violence by your spouse, you could obtain a Final Protective Order for up to one (1) year.  A Final Protective Order could require your spouse to stop abusing you, contacting you, to be removed and/or stay out of your marital residence, stay away from your place of employment, grant you temporary custody of your child(ren), grant you the use and possession of a family car, remove firearms, and provide you with financial relief in form of Emergency Family Maintenance.  In Maryland a Petition for Protective Order can filed in the District Court, Circuit Court, or the District Court Commissioner’s Office, which are open 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Contact our Maryland divorce lawyers for an appointment if you would like additional information or are seeking experienced, aggressive representation in your Protective Order case.

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