GETTING DIVORCED IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND
MARYLAND DIVORCE ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY HELPING WITH ALL LEGAL ASPECTS OF GETTING DIVORCED
Divorce is the legal end to a marriage as ordered by a court. If you are considering getting divorced, contact a Maryland divorce attorney at our office for consultation about your specific legal issues.
In the state of Maryland, a petitioner may ask for two types of divorce: absolute and limited. The most common type of divorce completed in the state is absolute.
- An absolute divorce is permanent, terminates all property claims by both parties, and permits remarriage if there is a reconciliation by both parties.
- A limited divorce is not permanent and as a result does not permit remarriage. Property claims may be settled during a limited divorce, but it does not terminate property claims. Parties are not required to get a limited divorce prior to an absolute divorce.
- A third option for couples is an annulment. An annulment establishes that the marriage never existed, and is generally reserved for relatively short marriages – courts rarely grant annulments and if there are property claims or children involved, divorce is the preferred route.
Grounds for Divorce in the State of Maryland
The laws governing divorce in the United States are determined at the state level, and as such, each state will have different requirements surrounding divorce. The state of Maryland requires that a marriage be terminated on at least one of the acceptable grounds for a divorce. Acceptable grounds for divorce include:
- Adultery – voluntary sexual intercourse between a spouse and another person that is not his or her spouse
- Cruelty – cruel or violent treatment of a spouse or child or a spouse
- Criminal conviction – spouse has been convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of at least three years
Desertion (Constructive or Actual) – unjustified abandonment
- Insanity – spouse has been diagnosed as legally insane and that spouse has been house in a mental institution for at least 3 years
- Voluntary separation – spouses have been separated for a continuous period of at least one year
Each ground for divorce carries different provisions governing when and how the lawsuit can be filed and will have different requirements regarding proof. Adultery for example, does not have a time limit provision and can be filed immediately following the act of adultery. Divorce filed on the grounds of voluntary separation requires that the couple be voluntarily separated for 12 months prior to a filing, meaning that the couple could not spend a single night together in the same house or have sexual intercourse during the 12-month period. If the grounds of divorce are found to be valid, then the civil contract of marriage will be ended and an absolute divorce decree issued that provides for:
- Custody of Children
- Division of Property
- Payment of Alimony
- Payment of Child Support
- Use of Last Name
As you can see above, divorce proceedings will govern the most important aspects of your life and need to be treated appropriately. Given time limits and other provisions governing divorce filings and proceedings, it is imperative that you act quickly if you believe you and your spouse to be heading in the direction of separation or divorce. Maryland divorce attorney at this firm is experienced in Maryland family law and is here to answer any questions you may have regarding acceptable grounds for divorce. Please give our office a call today!
VOIDABLE MARRIAGES IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Determining if your marriage is void or voidable will help you determine whether you might get an annulment instead of an actual divorce.
Which marriages are void and which marriages are voidable? A void marriage is a marriage that is void from the its outset, as it never existed. Any marriage that (1) Bigamy – at the time of marriage either party was already lawfully married, (2) Incest – he parties are close family relatives which prohibits the marriage is considered void from its outset.
Voidable marriage are marriage that can be voided or canceled at the choosing of one of the spouses based on the following reasons:
- (1) the marriage has not been consummated due to incapacity of either spouse or willful refusal of either spouse to consummate it;
- (2) either spouse did not validly consent to marriage due to duress (obtained by force), mistake, fraud, or unsoundness of mind;
- (3) at the time of marriage the spouse was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form;
- (4) at the time of marriage your spouse was pregnant by some other person than you.
The petitioning spouse (spouse asking for annulment) must prove to the court that he/she was not aware of these above factor or factors.
Another important fact to note is that the children of a void or voidable marriage are still considered legitimate.
There are statutes of limitation or limitation within which you can bring a petition for annulment. This is important because if the statute of limitation passes getting through the process will be tougher. Contact our Maryland divorce attorney today and our professional team of staff will help you evaluate you case, inform you of the statute of limitations and deadlines, and guide you in the right direction.
ADULTERY & FILING FOR DIVORCE
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 a Maryland divorce attorney at our office to better understand your options.
CONTACT MARYLAND DIVORCE ATTORNEY FOR HELP
The Burton Firm understands how divorce can affect you and your family’s life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of divorce cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak to a divorce lawyer in Maryland.
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.