Maryland Divorce Lawyer

Whether you are distraught or glad that your spouse and you are ending the marital relationship, the process can be overwhelming. A divorce is the legal ending of a marriage by order of the court. According to U.S. Census information, nearly 37,000 partners in Maryland got divorced in 2017.

Maryland has state-specific regulations for legally terminating a marriage. They are contained in the Code of Maryland, Family Law §7. The Maryland State Law Library provides a great deal of information on the subject, and it offers an internet service, called the People’s Law Library of Maryland. For legal advice and guidance, a Maryland divorce lawyer can be of help.

Absolute vs. Limited Divorces

Unlike marriages, divorces in Maryland can be absolute or limited. It may be important to discuss these distinctions with a dissolution attorney in Maryland.

Absolute Divorce

Maryland Family Law §7-103 grants the court the ability to decree an absolute divorce. The acceptable grounds for an absolute divorce include the following:

  • Adultery
  • Deliberate desertion for more than 12 months
  • Conviction that calls for at least three years incarceration, provided that one year has been served
  • A full year of continuous separation
  • Insanity of one spouse, who has been confined to a mental institution for three years prior to the filing, if at least two psychiatrists have declared the person incurable
  • Cruelty of treatment of a spouse or minor youth with no realistic chance of reconciling
  • Excessively vicious conduct toward a spouse or minor children with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation
  • Mutual consent
  • 12-month separation

An absolute divorce is final. When the decree is issued by the court, the parties may remarry, and any marital property is severed.

Limited Divorce

Conversely, a limited divorce, is akin to a legal separation, and by agreement only it may include a division of assets, but the marriage is not severed. Under Code of Maryland, Family Law §7-102, a court can decree a limited divorce for a short time or for an indefinite period. Moreover, a Maryland court has the authority to revoke a limited divorce decree. Remarriage is, of course, prohibited during a limited divorce.

Educational Seminar Requirement in Maryland Divorces

Maryland Code, Family Law §7-103.2(b) mandates that couples attend an informational class that will further teach them about the effects of divorce on children’s lives. The course also conveys ideas on how to minimize the disruption to offspring. In the State of Maryland, the Court will order parents to attend such an educational seminar when custody is at issue.  A Maryland family law attorney can help you in filing for custody and help you navigate this completed but important process.

Name Changes as Part of a Divorce Decree

Maryland Family Law §7–105 allows for an ex-spouse to revert to a pre-marriage name by making the request for a name change part of the absolute divorce decree. If this item does not appear in the final decree, a divorcing spouse still has 18 months to file a motion for a name change with the family court. A Maryland dissolution lawyer may have additional ideas for what may be written into the absolute decree, and might also assist with filing necessary motions as part of a divorce or dissolution of marriage.

How a Maryland Divorce Attorney Can Help

It may be difficult for you to decide the type of divorce that you wish to seek. Moreover, understanding all of the requirements and the implications of certain decisions might be overwhelming for you. Contact a Maryland divorce lawyer today to ask further questions and move forward with the divorce process.