What You Need to File for Divorce

Divorce Petition in Maryland Each state has different laws and requirements pertaining to divorce. When you meet with your divorce lawyers , they’ll advise you with regard to the specific process for your state. For example, divorce lawyers in Owings Mills will inform you that Maryland has residency requirements. You must also meet the legal grounds for divorce. If these conditions are met, your family law attorney can file a divorce petition on your behalf.

Residency Requirement
You can expect your family lawyers to ask you how long you and your spouse have lived in Maryland. At least one of you must be able to prove that you have been a Maryland resident for at least one year. It is not necessary for both spouses to prove residency.

Legal Grounds
Your family law attorney will review the unique circumstances of your marriage to determine whether you should file for fault or no-fault divorce. If you file for fault-based divorce, you must prove that certain issues were present in the marriage, such as adultery, cruelty, or insanity. Otherwise, you must file for no-fault divorce, which requires that you and your spouse have lived apart without sexual relations for at least one year. Or, beginning October 1, 2015, there are certain circumstances where a one year separation will not be necessary in order to obtain a no fault divorce.

Divorce Petition
If you meet the residency requirement and you have legal grounds for divorce, your family law attorney will prepare the Civil Domestic Case Information Report and a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. The lawyer will then file these documents in the appropriate circuit court. Then, the court clerk issues a copy of the complaint and a Writ of Summons, both of which must be served upon the defendant spouse by a process server or the county sheriff. The defendant spouse will then have 30 to 90 days to file an answer to the complaint. The exact time period depends upon whether the spouse is in Maryland, another state, or out of the country.

Financial Statements
Your family law attorney will use the financial documents and information you provide to prepare a financial statement. Both spouses must complete a financial statement. These documents include information regarding your individual assets and liabilities, joint property and debts, income, and expenses. The financial statements will guide the judge’s decisions with regard to asset and liability division, spousal support, and child support.