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Your Maryland Divorce Questions Answered


If you are contemplating a divorce, you likely have myriad questions about what you’re in for. Here is a quick guide to the laws surrounding divorce in the state of Maryland:

What are the grounds for divorce? 

Maryland’s absolute divorce is basically the dissolution of marriage, whereas a limited divorce is just a legal separation.

There are eight grounds for divorce:

  • Mutual consent—essentially a no-fault divorce;
  • Separation that has lasted one year or longer;
  • One party has committed adultery;
  • One spouse has been abandoned and cannot locate the other;
  • Cruelty toward the spouse or a child;
  • Vicious behavior;
  • Incarceration;
  • Insanity.

What are the rules regarding division of property? 

Property is to be equitably divided—which is not necessarily equally divided. The court must determine what a fair division is. A number of issues will be considered, including:

  • Contributions of each spouse to the family unit;
  • Earnings and potential earnings of each spouse;
  • Reasons for the divorce;
  • Length of the marriage;
  • Mental and physical condition of each spouse;
  • When and how assets were accumulated;
  • Whether there was separate property in addition to shared property;
  • Whether alimony has been awarded;
  • Who will be in possession of the home;
  • Other issues impacting the financial situation of each partner.

What about custody of the kids? 

There are two kinds of custody in Maryland: physical and legal.  Physical custody refers to where the child lives and spends time. Legal custody refers to the decision-making power over the kids when it comes to major issues such as where to attend school, what kind of religious instruction will occur, what medical procedures will be approved, and so forth. When parents can agree to custody issues, it’s much smoother than if the court has to decide.  In that event, a number of considerations will be weighed, from the child’s wishes to each parents’ character, ability to care for the child, and living arrangements.

Does one partner always pay child support? 

There is a formula used to determine the amount of child support, and includes things like earnings, expenses for child care, and the amount of time spent with each parent.

Am I allowed to date before the divorce is finalized? 

Technically, no. Dating while married is considered adultery, which is both illegal and grounds for divorce in Maryland.

How long will it take? 

Every divorce is different, but most take a few months, although complex battles over finances or custody can drag things out for much longer.

The Advocate You Need 

The dedicated and knowledgeable Baltimore family attorneys at the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes are prepared to help you through every step of your divorce, fighting for best possible outcomes for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation today in our office.

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