If you are eligible for divorce in Maryland , there are several steps you and your spouse must take to legally end your marriage. In addition to making the decision to divorce, you must also settle matters such as asset division, child custody, and spousal support. Working with a divorce attorney serving Owings Mills is a smart choice when navigating Maryland divorce laws; your divorce lawyer will ensure that all relevant issues are covered and that your needs and preferences are met during the divorce process.
Filing Divorce Documents
The first step in seeking a divorce in Maryland is the filing of at least two documents: A Complaint for Absolute Divorce and a Civil Domestic Case Information Report. These documents must be filed by the plaintiff spouse wishing to end the marriage with the circuit court serving your county, and are associated with filing fees; however, you may be eligible for a fee waiver depending on your circumstances.
Serving of Divorce Documents
After the divorce documents have been filed, the defendant spouse is personally served with these documents, as well as a Writ of Summons. The plaintiff spouse will receive an affidavit proving that the papers have been served once this process is complete.
Filing an Answer
Once the defendant spouse receives the divorce documents, he must file an Answer to the Complaint for Absolute Divorce. This document will admit or deny any allegations made in the Complaint. Additionally, the defendant spouse has the right to file a Counter Complaint for Absolute Divorce, which may state grounds for divorce that are different than those of the plaintiff spouse if he disagrees with the original Complaint.
Before the divorce can be finalized, both spouses must settle issues such as the division of finances and property, child custody and support, and alimony payments. This process is typically aided by the couple’s family court attorneys, and may go through a divorce mediation process or court appearances if the couple cannot come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce.