Rockville Contested Divorce Lawyer

Most divorcing couples want to resolve their case with ease. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to agree with your spouse on all marital issues. If you cannot negotiate a resolution of your disputes, your divorce is considered to be ‘contested’, and a judge may be forced to hear your case in Maryland. There are a number of steps you must take in a contested divorce, and it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities during each phase of the divorce litigation. A Rockville contested divorce lawyer can explain the contested divorce process and work toward a favorable outcome in your case. Speak to a dedicated divorce attorney to discuss your legal rights.

Grounds for an Absolute Divorce

To obtain a divorce in Rockville, one spouse must establish the legal reasons, known as ‘grounds,’ for a judge to grant the divorce. Under Maryland Code Annotated, Family Law Article §7-103, the grounds are:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty
  • Excessively Vicious Conduct
  • One-year separation
  • Criminal conviction
  • Insanity
  • Mutual Consent

Specific evidence is required to prove each of these grounds, and certain waiting periods may apply. A contested divorce lawyer can explain each of these grounds and assess which could be proven in court.

Issues to Address in a Contested Divorce

Spouses in a contested divorce could disagree on various marital issues. Some of these include:

  • Property division
  • Child custody, visitation, and support
  • Alimony, also known as spousal support
  • Allocation of income tax deductions
  • Health insurance
  • Transfer of retirement accounts
  • Legal fees

To decide these issues in a contested divorce, a judge listens to the evidence, applies the law, and renders a decision. A Rockville contested divorce lawyer is familiar with marital property, custody, and support laws and can provide the necessary information to the court.

The Contested Divorce Process

Attorneys and the court manage contested cases in Rockville differently than divorces where both spouses agree on all issues. Knowing what to expect can help a spouse prepare for each phase of the litigation.

Complaint for Divorce

To start the contested divorce process, one party files a complaint for divorce with the court. The complaint alleges the grounds for divorce and identifies the issues that must be resolved. This pleading must be ‘served’ (delivered) to the other party pursuant to Maryland law, and once served, that party has thirty days to file a response, known as an ‘answer.’

Exchange of Information

After the complaint and answer are filed, each party is entitled to request detailed information from the other party regarding income, marital assets, custody, and any other issues relevant to the divorce case, in a process called ‘discovery’. This exchange of information ensures that no assets are hidden, and there are deadlines for responding so that the divorce is not delayed. A Rockville contested divorce lawyer is familiar with this ‘discovery’ process and can prepare a spouse’s discovery responses according to the Maryland rules.

Pretrial Settlement Conferences

Before a court permits a divorce case to proceed to a contested trial, the spouses must engage in settlement negotiations. In Rockville, a judge participates in these discussions and attempt to facilitate an agreement in the divorce. If the parties cannot reach a divorce resolution, the court will schedule their case for a final hearing.

Contested Trial

During a divorce trial, each party can present witnesses, cross-examine the other spouse’s witnesses, and provide evidence to the court about their finances and custody of their children. A Rockville contested divorce attorney knows how to follow courtroom procedure and could present closing arguments that summarize the client’s position in the divorce. At the conclusion of a trial, a judge will make a decision and issue a final decree outlining the terms of the parties’ divorce.

Consult a Contested Divorce Attorney

If you and your spouse disagree on the grounds for divorce or how to resolve certain marital issues, your case is contested, and you may need to go to court. You and your spouse will present evidence and a judge will determine the final result.

A Rockville contested divorce lawyer understands the discovery process, is skilled in pretrial negotiations, and can represent your interests in court. Call today to get started on your divorce.