Divorce cases in Maryland can be either uncontested or contested, depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. Contested divorces may also include disputes that arise between divorcing spouses around child custody, child support, or spousal support (also called alimony).
For help with the divorce process in Maryland, schedule a consultation with a contested divorce lawyer at our firm, Jimeno & Gray, PA. We have over 20 years of experience helping families navigate complex divorce cases. Contact us to meet with a divorce attorney at our law firm based in Glen Burnie, MD.
What Is Contested Divorce?
In the divorce process, the plaintiff files a complaint against their spouse. If the spouse agrees to the terms outlined in the divorce papers, it is an uncontested divorce. If the spouse disagrees with the terms of the divorce, it becomes a contested divorce.
Maryland allows a plaintiff to file either a no-fault divorce complaint or a fault-based divorce. Divorce by mutual consent or divorce after 12-month separation are the two no-fault divorces available in Maryland. The defending spouse does not usually contest a no-fault divorce complaint.
In a fault-based divorce, the plaintiff spouse must prove that the defendant committed any of Maryland’s reasonable grounds for divorce during the marriage, including:
- Criminal conviction
- Cruelty or vicious conduct
Fault-based complaints may be about the defendant’s actions against either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s minor child. Many fault-based divorces become contested divorces as spouses dispute the allegations and equitable distribution of assets.
Contact our firm, Jimeno & Gray, PA, to speak with a contested divorce lawyer if you need help with a contested divorce in Maryland.
Asset and Debt Division in a Maryland Divorce
If your divorce makes it to litigation in court, the judge will consider several factors in dividing marital assets and debts between you and your spouse. Maryland is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state, meaning that the court will divide marital assets and debts according to what it feels is fair rather than equally between the spouses.
Factors the court will consider include:
- Household contributions of each spouse
- The economic position and potential of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The circumstances of the acquisition of certain marital properties and debts
- Whether either party used marital assets inappropriately
- Awards of other marital property or spousal support
- Other relevant factors in the divorce
Because child support and custody benefit children and not either spouse, the court does not consider whether it is awarding child support as a factor in determining asset division.
Disputing Child Custody, Child Support, or Alimony (Spousal Support)
You and your spouse may settle out of court at any time during the divorce process. Maryland requires divorcing spouses to use mediation to resolve as many issues as possible before seeking litigation. Many divorce lawyers are also trained mediators, including the divorce lawyers at our firm.