Even those who want a divorce typically find that it is a sad and stressful experience.
At Jimeno & Gray, our dedicated Maryland divorce lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you through this difficult phase of your life. Clients choose us to handle their complicated Maryland family law matters because:
We understand the common reasons couples file for divorce, Maryland’s requirements to establish grounds for divorce and the financial and personal costs that come with the end of a marriage.
If you are considering divorce in Maryland, please contact us by phone, online, or by visiting one of our conveniently located offices in Glen Burnie. Or, simply click here to schedule an intake call. We empathize with what you are going through and will stand by your side to guide you toward your goals for moving forward with your life.
We understand how difficult this can be for you and your family
This is why we take the time to listen and answer all of your questions. We also guide you to the best possible outcome for your case.
Taking control of your situation shouldn’t be overwhelming
Our Glen Burnie divorce lawyers help put you at ease as we guide and educate you to the outcome you need. Here’s how to get started:
1. Schedule a Call
Speak with a member of our experienced family law team. We’ll take the time to listen and understand your situation.
2. Develop a Plan
We create a customized legal strategy that meets your specific needs and helps you. get the outcome you deserve.
3. Get Results
We get results so you take control of your future by achieving the best possible results for your legal matter.
Start with the right divorce attorney in Glen Burnie, Maryland
When you meet with our experienced Maryland divorce attorneys, we will walk you through what to expect and what steps need to be taken to protect yourself.
The State of Maryland recognizes two types of divorce:
- Absolute divorce, or the termination of a marriage
- Limited divorce, otherwise known as legal separation, which does not end the marriage
To obtain an absolute divorce, you must establish grounds, or reasons, for ending the marriage. Maryland recognizes the following as grounds for an absolute divorce:
- Mutual consent (or an uncontested divorce). If you and your spouse submit to the court a written settlement agreement that resolves all issues of your marital property, alimony, monetary award, retirement accounts, children, if any, and child support, a judge will quickly issue a divorce decree with no separation period required.
- One-year separation. You and your spouse must have lived separately and apart from one another for a continuous period of one year, and not had sexual relations during that time.
- Adultery. One spouse has had voluntary sexual intercourse with a person who is not his or her spouse and it was not condoned or forgiven.
- Desertion. An unjustified abandonment (leaving the home) with intention of terminating the marriage may be cited under certain circumstances.
- Cruel treatment. Your spouse has treated you or his or her minor child with violence or cruelty.
- Insanity. A licensed medical doctor has determined that your spouse is legally insane, and your spouse has been in a mental institution or hospital for at least three years prior to filing for a divorce.
- Incarceration. Your spouse has been convicted of a crime, and has been sentenced to three or more years in prison. When filing for divorce, your spouse must have served at least 12 months of the sentence.
A limited divorce is not required before obtaining an absolute divorce, but some people (or couples) seek one if their divorce is contested (meaning they and their spouse disagree) and they are unable to establish grounds for an absolute divorce. Sometimes a person already living apart from his or her spouse will seek a legal separation to help settle issues of contention, particularly issues of custody and monetary support.
What to Expect in a Limited Divorce
In a decree of limited divorce, the judge may establish any of the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Use and possession of property (such as the family home)
Once a limited divorce is granted, absent other grounds, the couple can maintain the separation for a year and then file for an absolute divorce. During this time, the couple may work to come to agreement on the issues listed above.
What to Expect in an Absolute Divorce
In an absolute (final) divorce decree, the judge will settle issues like those above in a binding judicial order. These issues are typically at the heart of any divorce that ends a marriage of several years:
- Payment of alimony (spousal support): Alimony (money) paid by one spouse to the other may be temporary, rehabilitative (awarded for a specific period), or indefinite, which is rare.
- Custody of children: Custody may be awarded to only one parent (“sole custody”) or both parents (in “joint” custody), a shared responsibility for raising and caring for the children. “Split” custody occurs when two or more children are involved, and each parent takes sole custody of one or more of them. Custody of a child may be legal (one parent has the right to make major decisions regarding a minor child) or physical (making a home for the child and making day-to-day decisions while the child lives with the parent).
- Payment of child support: One spouse may be required to pay child support to the other. Regardless, both parents remain legally required to support their minor-age children (i.e., 18 years old or younger and unemancipated).
- Division of property: If the individuals seeking a divorce cannot agree how property belonging to both of them should be divided, the judge may order the property sold, with proceeds divided between the spouses. This may include houses, motor vehicles, the contents of bank accounts, and other assets.
- Use of last name: A spouse may ask the court to change his or her name back to the name used before the marriage. These requests are usually granted.
Obviously, it is better for all concerned, especially any children, if a divorcing couple can settle their issues amicably. We recognize, of course, that this is often not the case. This is why it is important to retain the services of an experienced Maryland divorce attorney.
A divorce agreement can be financially ruinous if your interests are not protected as it is drawn. You could be forced to divest yourself of assets and/or sell off personal property that you treasure. You could lose your home or even access to your children.
To negotiate a fair divorce agreement, you need an experienced Maryland family law attorney who will first listen to and understand your needs. He or she must be able to negotiate the terms of your divorce with a balance of toughness to protect your interests, and an openness that allows you and your spouse to cooperate and resolve the outstanding issues between you.
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Contact Our Maryland Divorce Lawyers Today
Marriage is legal contract, and divorce is a legal process that concludes with a binding legal order, as well. The emotions, legal questions, and concerns inherent in a divorce can lead to an agreement that damages your future financially and personally. Don’t file for separation or divorce in Maryland without qualified legal counsel to guide you.
Contact Jimeno & Gray, P.A., for dedicated legal assistance from an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer who will protect your rights and interests as your marriage ends. Our divorce lawyers can meet with you in person or via Zoom at your convenience. Contact us today.