When a relationship starts to break down, it can be very difficult for all parties involved. Sometimes ending the union is necessary to preserve peace and harmony for everyone.
Filing for divorce can be stressful, but thankfully top Maryland divorce lawyer, Alan L. Billian, P.A., is here to help. Here’s what you need to know to file for a divorce.
Which Kind of Divorce Do You Need?
In the state of Maryland, there are two kinds of divorces: The absolute divorce and the limited divorce.
- An absolute divorce is when the marriage contract is completely dissolved, alimony may be awarded, visitation arrangements are set, and property is divided.
- A limited divorce is also known as a “legal separation”. In this type, custody and visitation will be set, and alimony and child support may be established, but you will still be legally married by the end of proceedings.
The other major difference between these two types of divorce is an absolute divorce requires a year of separation to qualify, unless some other grounds for divorce apply, while the limited divorce does not. However, you can be granted a divorce immediately on certain “fault grounds”.
Is Your Spouse At Fault?
If you are filing for an absolute divorce, you can decide whether or not to pursue a fault-based divorce. A fault-based divorce requires you to prove your spouse committed a form of misconduct such as adultery, desertion, vicious conduct, insanity, or cruelty.
To determine whether or not your spouse’s actions qualify for fault, please contact us. We can discuss your specific situation and your options.
How Do you Begin Filing for Divorce?
To get started, you need to file a “Complaint for Absolute Divorce” as well as the “Civil Domestic Case Information Report”. Once these documents have been filed with a Maryland circuit court, steps are taken to serve your spouse with a “Writ of Summons” along with copies of your complaint and related documents.
Then, your spouse can file an “Answer” to the complaint in which they can either confirm or deny the claims made within your complaint. They will have 30 days to do so if they are a Maryland resident, 60 days if they reside in another state, and 90 days if they are outside of the United States.
Your spouse can also file a “Counter Complaint for Absolute Divorce” which will state their claims.
You will both need to complete financial disclosures as well. These statements will include, each party’s liabilities, income, expenses, and individual assets. Joint properties and debts will also need to be addressed. If your case is contested, there will be several court appearances involved.
For more information on filing for divorce, or to receive help in the process, give Alan L. Billian, P.A. a call at 410-889-5500, today!