Below are some important facts regarding divorce laws in Maryland that all spouses should be aware of:
Maryland Divorce Residency Requirements
Maryland’s residency requirements for divorce can be tricky. If the cause for the divorce took place within the state, a spouse may file for divorce in the county where either spouse resides (if spouses have been living separately). If the cause that led to the petition took place outside of Maryland, then the spouse seeking the dissolution must be a resident of the state for at least one year before they can file for a divorce in Maryland.
Acceptable Grounds for Divorce in Maryland
The following are the legal grounds for divorce in Maryland parties can cite when petitioning the court for the dissolution of marriage:
• Desertion for at least one year prior to filing
• Voluntary separation for at least one year prior to filing
• Felony Conviction/Imprisonment
• Cruelty or domestic violence
• Parties have been living separate and apart for at least two years
Property Division Laws
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that if parties cannot reach an agreement when it comes to their property and assets, the court will divide the marital estate in an equitable, but not necessarily equal, manner. Several factors will be considered, including the value of the property to each spouse, length of the marriage and misconduct that led to the divorce petition.
Similar factors will be taken into account when determining alimony in Maryland. The spouses’ financial situation, prior agreements, duration of the marriage, and other aspects will be evaluated to determine if and how much spousal support will be awarded.
Hiring a Divorce Attorney in Maryland
Disputes between parties over property, alimony and child custody can become so great, the divorce can take years to finalize. Many parties are not aware of their rights and can easily forsake benefits and property if not careful. For this reason, it is extremely important to hire an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer, to ensure that each party’s rights will be upheld and that no one will get the short end of the stick in the settlement.