What are the legal requirements for getting a separation or divorce in Maryland? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a divorce in the state of Maryland?
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- Before the Case Begins?
What is Maryland law on annulments? Find the answers to your Maryland divorce questions here. Legal separations are allowed in Maryland, and a judge will enforce separation agreements that pertain to spousal support, property division and any personal rights. Maryland has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
For instances, these reasons may include fraud, duress, a felony conviction resulting in 3-year sentence or more, abandonment for more than 1 year, voluntary separation for over 2 years, and cruelty or domestic violence. See a local Maryland divorce lawyer for details. When the grounds described above occurred outside the state, a divorce can only be filed if a party has been a resident of the state for at least one year.
Even though an annulment means that no legal marriage happened, the court will act to protect individual property rights. Additionally, parties seeking an annulment in Maryland should understand that any children produced via the invalid union must be provided with child support as determined by the court, and those children are not considered to be illegitimate. The judge may also award alimony spousal support.
You No Longer Have to Wait to File for Divorce in Maryland
In valid marriages, parties must provide grounds for divorce. Maryland courts do not accept simple accusations. If spouses are seeking a limited divorce also known as legal separation , they may use the following grounds:. Spouses seeking absolute divorce in Maryland i. The first method involves mediation and is the least complicated as well as the least expensive option. Before filing for divorce, couples can opt to work with a mediator, who can aid in the process of conflict resolution.
Once the settlement terms are reached, the mediator helps the spouses complete a Separation Agreement. After the agreement has been drawn up, each party must have the Separation Agreement reviewed by an independent attorney.
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The terms outlined in the Separation Agreement are meant to bridge the gap between marriage and cohabitation and the time when a divorce is finalized, or the parties opt to resolve their differences by revoking the agreement in writing. The Separation Agreement is not a substitute for divorce.
Under Maryland divorce law, parties may not engage in sexual relations with others while separated, as this legally constitutes adultery. If one of the spouses violates this law or any of the terms of the Separation Agreement, the other has the right to file a lawsuit for breach of contract.
After the one-year separation has passed if applicable all parties seeking an annulment, limited divorce legal separation or absolute divorce should use the following procedures to file for divorce. In order to begin a legal action, you start by filing a complaint with the court.
The complaint will include:. In case a default judgment is requested, the filing party must also provide a military affidavit stating that the responding party i. If the divorce is uncontested and both parties agree to the terms, then the case will be heard by a Master-Examiner, who will determine whether divorce should be granted. The defendant will be given an opportunity to appear but is not required to do so. The plaintiff filing party will need to testify, along with any witnesses who can corroborate evidence in assigning grounds for divorce.
If the divorce is contested, then the case goes to trial. Many months of discovery may take place depending on the circumstances. In some cases, multiple conferences may take place so that issues can be resolved. The court may also require parties to attend mediation to reduce the burden of trial.
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If no agreement can be reached, the divorce will go to trial. During the trial, both spouses will present testimony, and both spouses can expect to be cross-examined by the other side. Witness statements will be heard as well, if applicable.
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After all the evidence has been presented, the judge will determine whether the divorce will be granted to the plaintiff. It is worth noting that contested divorces can take months to even get to trial and even longer to proceed after the trial begins. Once a judgment is entered, a day appeal period goes into effect.
How Do I File for Divorce in Maryland
The losing party then has the opportunity to enter an appeal if he or she wishes to do so. There are a few different answers to this question, depending on the details of your case. While we recommend consulting an attorney before moving forward, here are some basics about how long it takes to get a divorce in Maryland. Whatever the reason for divorce, residency must be established prior to the judge hearing the case.