FELONY CONVICTION AS A GROUND FOR DIVORCE
Divorce Attorney in Maryland Explains Felony Conviction as a Ground for Divorce
Getting a divorce is never easy, especially in the state of Maryland where certain variables can affect the outcome of a divorce. There are three main requirements a couple or individual must meet in order to file for divorce in the state of Maryland but it’s always best to speak with a divorce attorney in Maryland regarding your case specifically.
Maryland is a state that requires “fault” in order to grant a divorce. It is also possible to be granted a divorce when there has been a voluntary separation of the married couple for 12 consecutive months.
There are several “grounds” on which a divorce may be granted in Maryland. These legal bases for divorce include:
- Felony conviction
- Cruelty to the spouse or child
With so many variables involved, contacting a divorce attorney in Maryland is the best thing you can do to guarantee a successful divorce.
Another requirement is that at least one spouse must be a Maryland resident for 12 months. Alternatively, if the grounds for divorce occurred within Maryland the couple currently resides in Maryland, the 12-month residency requirement is waived.
The final requirement is that the divorce case is filed in the appropriate circuit court. This court may be located in the county of either spouse’s residence, the county in which either spouse is regularly employed or the county in which he or she owns a business.
Limited vs Absolute Divorce
There are two types of divorce in Maryland – limited and absolute. Limited divorce has less stringent requirements to file divorce but it is not a true final divorce. States recognize limited divorces as the legal separation of a couple, but they are still technically married. Absolute divorce ends the marriage completely and permits the couple to divide assets and remarry new partners.
Convictions and Divorce
When one spouse has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony with a sentence of three or more years or for an unspecified sentence in a penal institution, and 12 or more months of that sentence has already been served, the other spouse may file for absolute divorce. There must not only be a charge but an actual conviction for grounds for divorce in Maryland. The conviction may be in any state in a penitentiary or penal institution.
The section on the divorce filing paperwork an individual should fill out in the case of a conviction asks for the approximate date of sentencing.
The state of Maryland considers both natural parents as the presumed natural custodians of their children, with no favoritism to the mother or the father. This differs from other states in which the mother may get preferential treatment in custody proceedings. When an individual files for divorce against their spouse with the cause being a felony conviction, this can have dramatic effects on custody of their children. This is because courts in Maryland consider the “best interest” of the child when deciding on custody and visitation.
Custody and visitation arrangements are never permanent. As situations change, a parent can always petition the Court to modify the order. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the felony conviction of a parent, it may be very difficult for that parent to obtain custody of their child. Make sure to contact a skilled divorce attorney in Maryland if you have children and are going through a divorce.
There are several aspects of the conviction that affect the likelihood of obtaining any form of custody:
- Recency – the more recent the conviction, the harder it is to argue for custody or visitation rights. If the conviction was a long time ago and the parent seeking custody is able to demonstrate a change in lifestyle and attitude, the court may believe he or she is responsible enough to gain at least partial custody of his or her child.
- Nature of the crime – convictions related to violence, such as aggravated assaults, murder, or assault upon the spouse are much harder to ignore in a custody case than something more innocuous, such as tax fraud. If the crime alludes to an inappropriate environment for the child, the court is likely to rule in favor of the other parent. This may occur if the crime was related to drug use or trafficking, negligence such as vehicular manslaughter, etc. The best interest of the child is to keep it in a safe environment.
Divorce can be a very complicated and drawn out process. Emotions are bound to get mixed up and it can be difficult to know what is the best course of action, especially when an individual is upset or hurt. It can be very helpful to contact a family divorce attorney in Maryland to seek advice and gain insight into how to navigate the process.
Call a Divorce Attorney in Maryland For Divorces Involving Felony Convictions
The Burton Firm provides the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. Our strong attorney-client communication and collaboration is designed to maximize the outcomes for you. Give us a call at (301) 358-3842 for a consultation with a divorce attorney in Maryland.