Divorce in Maryland Simplified
Are you dreading the divorce proceedings in Maryland? Know that, by meeting specific criteria, you can skip the lengthy and expensive court process and get a simple, low-cost divorce.
Maryland handles divorces a bit differently than other states. In Maryland, you can get two types of divorces—an absolute and a limited divorce. While both procedures deal with the same issues—child custody, spousal support, and division of assets and debts—there are crucial differences between them.
Take a look at the table below to get the complete picture:
|Limited Divorce||Absolute Divorce|
|Limited divorce is a type of legal separation in Maryland. After the proceedings, you and your spouse will still be considered legally married until you obtain the absolute divorce. It’s usually filed by spouses who:
||An absolute divorce in Maryland is typically referred to as “divorce” in other states. At the end of the proceedings, all divorce-related issues will be resolved, and the couple will be considered unmarried again|
To file for divorce in Maryland, you must provide grounds (legally acceptable reasons) for ending a marriage. Two types of grounds are:
- No-fault, meaning neither spouse is to blame for the marriage dissolving
- Grounds based on the fault of one spouse
If you choose to file for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse have to prove one of the following grounds:
- Twelve consecutive months of separation
- Mutual consent to end the marriage (it doesn’t require a waiting period)
A fault-based divorce is typically a more lengthy and expensive procedure. If you choose to file for this type of divorce, you must provide proof of:
- Extreme cruelty
- Conviction of a crime
If you can’t prove the fault-based grounds for a divorce, you may still be eligible to file for a no-fault one after a 12-month separation or as a result of mutual consent.
Most divorces don’t have to be complicated or exhausting, especially if both spouses are eager to get out of the marriage as quickly as possible. If you and your partner agree on all divorce terms, you are perfect candidates for an uncontested divorce.
Maryland offers an even quicker and less expensive type of uncontested divorce for spouses who have resolved their differences from the get-go—a mutual consent divorce.
The process requires you to:
- Meet the residential criteria—At least one party must live in Maryland to file for divorce there. The required duration of your residency depends on whether:
- The actions that caused the divorce happened in Maryland (if so, you only need to live there currently to file for divorce)
- The issue occurred outside of Maryland (you must reside in the state for at least six months before filing)
- Fill out and file the necessary paperwork—Find the corresponding forms on the Maryland Courts divorce page. The documents you have to fill out are:
- Complaint for Absolute Divorce
- Financial statements
- Civil Domestic Information Report
- Child-support worksheets (if applicable)
- Outline the terms of the divorce in a marital settlement agreement—Determine how you’re going to handle issues such as:
- Division of marital property and debts
- Alimony (whether there will be any and, if so, how much)
- Child support and custody
- File the forms—File the necessary paperwork with the Maryland circuit court in the county where you or your spouse reside. Serve the copies to your spouse by hiring:
- County sheriff
- Private process server
- Attend the mutual consent divorce hearing—At least one spouse has to appear at the hearing (with a copy of a marriage certificate and proof of residency), after which the judge will:
- Review and approve the divorce settlement agreement
- Sign the final Divorce Decree
A divorce settlement agreement is one of the crucial documents in Maryland divorce proceedings. While it has to correspond with state laws and contain all crucial sections, hiring a lawyer is not the only way to create it. You can save time and money and still get a comprehensive agreement by subscribing to DoNotPay!
Here’s what you should do first—register for DoNotPay and:
- Type in Divorce Settlement Agreement in the search box
- Answer our chatbot’s questions about your spouse and children
- Provide additional information regarding your assets and the plans to divide them
We will immediately create an agreement that corresponds with your situation and Maryland state laws.
Getting the agreement notarized adds legal weight to the document, and we can help with that as well. Our questionnaire offers you the possibility of having the document notarized by an online notary. If you accept it, you can schedule a meeting at any time since online notaries are available 24/7!
DoNotPay provides answers to all frequently asked questions about divorces. Check out our knowledge base and learn all about:
- Mediation in divorce (and the ways mediation works in Maryland)
- Reliability of an online divorce
- The costs of a divorce in Maryland
- Divorce without a lawyer and by skipping the court altogether
- Out-of-court divorce settlements
- Divorce forms in Baltimore County and Montgomery County
- Need for a lawyer when the couple agrees on everything
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