Maryland Divorce Laws

Maryland Divorce Details

According to recent surveys, the average cost of an American wedding is around $20,000. You’ve probably been to weddings where they spent a lot more or a lot less. Either way, it’s still a huge amount to spend on what is essentially a one day party.

On the flip side, it costs around $100 to file for divorce in Maryland. Although it might be cheaper to file for a divorce then it is to pay for a wedding, the break up of a marriage can be emotionally devastating for all those involved. It’s important before moving forward with divorce proceedings that you become informed.

Types of Divorces in Maryland

There are two forms of divorce in Maryland: uncontested or contested. For an uncontested divorce both parties have mutually agreed that there is no hope for reconciliation. There doesn’t have to be any specific reason given as long as both spouses agree that living together is no longer an option.

For an uncontested divorce, couples will sign a separation agreement which clearly stipulates all the issues pertaining to child support and division of property. The uncontested divorce in Maryland is also known as an agreed divorce.

For a contested or default divorce, one party is serving divorce papers on another based on particular grounds. Among the grounds for divorce in Maryland are adultery, abandonment for at least a year, being convicted of a felony and serving up to three years in jail, or being found to have committed excessive cruelty or vicious conduct. In order to file either types of divorce, you need to have been a Maryland resident for at least one year.

Divorce Property Distribution in Maryland

As with many states, Maryland has adopted equitable distribution policies when it comes to divorce. This means that if the parties entering into the divorce can’t agree on the terms, the court will decide on the distribution of property and assets.

To make those decisions the court takes into account what each party brought into the marriage, how long the marriage was for, what caused the break-up, the economic status of each spouse and any alimony that might be granted.

Alimony and Child Support in Maryland

A Maryland divorce judge can award alimony to either party in the divorce. Among the considerations taken into account is whether or not the person asking for alimony can actually support themselves.

If that person plans on going back to school or seek training to be able to support themselves then alimony could be granted for that “learning” period. The financial status of the person expected to pay the alimony is also considered when it comes to determining the amount.

For child support, the Maryland divorce court applies the Income Shares model. This is when both parent’s salary is put together as a lump sum used to figure out the appropriate amount for child support.

The ages of the children and any special health needs are also taken under advisement. Additionally, if one of the parents is already paying child support from a previous divorce agreement then that will become a factor as well.