ADULTERY & DIVORCE IN MARYLAND
divorce lawyer in Maryland
In Maryland, adultery is considered a crime against marriage and although prosecutions are rare, it is considered a criminal offense.
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than that person’s husband or wife. Due to this definition, adultery can only be committed with a member of the opposite sex. Meaning, that a married person who engages in sexual relations with a same sex partner may not be guilty of adultery and although no Maryland court has had to address this issue, if this instance occurs, he or she may be charged with constructive desertion. In Maryland, adultery as well as constructive desertion is ground for divorce so the married person who has sexual intercourse with another person could be sued. However, desertion could only be a reason if it has continued for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application divorce or the desertion is deliberate and final and there is no reasonable expectation of settlement.
There are other grounds in which a married couple can get a divorce in the state of Maryland. If you had a 12-month separation where both parties have lived separate without cohabitation for 12 months before filing of the application, you can file for divorce. Additionally, if the defendant has been sentenced to serve at least 3 years in a penal institution and served 12 months of the sentence before filing of the application for divorce, it serves as a ground for divorce. If the insane spouse has been confined in a mental institution, hospital, or other similar institution for at least 3 years before the filing of the application, or the court determines from the testimony of at least 2 physicians who are competent in psychiatry that the insanity is incurable and there is no hope of recovery the married couple could file for divorce. If the complaining party and/or the child of the complaining party received cruel treatment or excessively vicious conduct, that party could file for divorce. If you fall within any of the categories above, consult divorce lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm today to better understand your options.
divorce lawyer in Maryland
AREPRESENTING YOURSELF OR HIRING AN ATTORNEY
It is not uncommon for one or both parties to represent themselves in family law issues. This type of process is called “pro se” and is usually performed because of financial constraints or misconceptions about what attorneys can do. However, it is not a good idea for everyone and it is important to understand you may be missing some fundamental rights by not using an attorney. Nowadays, there are many resources available to those who wish to represent themselves. Maryland court system offers legal advice and help with legal forms in the courthouse.
There is also the Women’s Law Center of Maryland which offers a hotline that can direct you to legal aid programs and other help in your county. Additionally, the internet can be a great source of legal information. There are many readily tools at your disposal to represent yourself in the state of Maryland, but it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who can help with your case specifically as no case is ever alike.
Before you consider filing divorce by yourself, it is important you get information from your spouse regarding pension, retirement account, insurance or other significant property. It is imperative you understand that if you do not ask for such things in the divorce, you will give them up forever. Beyond the tangible items listed above, it is a good idea to talk to your spouse about how he or she feels about the divorce.
This will give you a good indication on how best to proceed with the divorce because if there is any resentment or issues, hiring an attorney may be best. Hiring a divorce lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm can assess how complicated your specific case may be and what exactly your rights are. The judge will still expect you to understand the general rules and procedures but having an attorney will relieve the stress and headache caused by representing yourself.
divorce lawyer in Maryland
CRIMES AGAINST MARRIAGE
Two very different types of cases define the America legal system: criminal and civil. Civil cases are generally considered disputes between individuals or entities regarding legal duties and responsibilities that they owe one another, a stark contrast to criminal cases, which are considered crimes against the states. In the State of Maryland, adultery and bigamy are both a civil and criminal offense.
Adultery (cheating) is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than that person’s husband or wife.” Even though the completion of sexual intercourse is not required for the standing of adultery, the sexual intercourse must involve some penetration of the female organ by the male organ. A married person, who has sexual intercourse with a person other than the spouse, could be sued for divorce.
Maryland considers adultery a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $10.00 fine. Further, adultery can only be committed with a member of the opposite sex. Thus, a spouse who engages in a sexual relationship with a same sex partner is not guilty of adultery. However, he or she may be considered guilty of constructive desertion. Maryland law considers constructive desertion as grounds for divorce.
Maryland Law also prohibits bigamy. Bigamy occurs when a person enters marriage while already married to a living person. However, the bigamy law does not apply if:
A person’s previous lawful spouse has been absent from the person for a continuous period of 7 years; and
The person does not know where the person’s previous lawful spouse is living at the time of the subsequent marriage ceremony.
In Maryland, bigamy is a serious offense. It is a felony punishable for up to 9 years in prison.
If you are seeking legal help as a result of crimes against marriage, call The Burton Firm today for a free initial consultation. We can help. We will resolve your questions and concerns, protect your legal rights, and work diligently to get results.
CALL A divorce lawyer in Maryland TODAY
Family law legal matters can be a very stressful and troubling topic for divorced couples, especially if children are involved. The Burton Firm understands how crucial it is to ensure legal matters are set up with the children in mind. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak to a Maryland Family Law attorney immediately.
THE OUTCOME OF YOUR CASE MATTERS TO US
Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of Family Law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.