Ellicott City, MD Divorce Attorneys
If you are considering a divorce, speak with an Ellicott City divorce lawyer at Arn Family Law. We have more than 20 years of experience successfully handling family law cases and will put this experience to work for you. Our family lawyers strive to minimize conflict and possess the necessary skills to resolve any family law situation, including property division, spousal support matters, child support, and custody rights. Call us today at (240) 345-2015 to discuss your case.
Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer in Ellicott City
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your marriage, the process of obtaining a divorce may be relatively straightforward or may present serious legal challenges. If the marriage was short and there are little to no assets to divide with the other spouse, then the divorce may be quite simple. However, when children are involved, substantial assets, or a business, the divorce process can become quite complicated and require a lawyer’s legal expertise. Especially when serious disputes arise and too much is at stake, a divorce lawyer will advocate for you so that your rights are heard and you are treated fairly. A divorce lawyer will be able to assist you with the following legal matters:
- Child custody and access (visitation)
- Child support
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Use and possession of a home, automobile or personal possessions
- Distribution of property
- Distribution of pensions and other assets
Types of Divorce
In the state of Maryland, there are two types of divorces that are recognized:
A limited divorce can also be called a legal separation. This type of divorce allows a couple to retain certain aspects of their marriage while under the supervision of the court. Reasons why a couple may enter into a limited divorce can include them not having the grounds for an absolute divorce, being unable to settle their differences, or being in need of financial maintenance.
This type of divorce is a complete termination of the legal union between two individuals. All important issues are usually resolved and the individuals have the option of remarrying.
Basics of Filing for Divorce in Ellicott City
- At least one spouse must have been a Maryland resident for at least one year prior to filing for divorce.
- There must be grounds for divorce unless the couple has been separated for one year. Grounds can vary based on whether it is for a limited or absolute divorce.
- Limited: Cruelty of treatment towards a spouse or a minor dependent, excessively vicious conduct towards a spouse or a minor dependent, desertion without just cause, or separated for less than 12 months.
- Absolute: Cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct towards a spouse or a minor dependent, desertion without just cause for at least a year, adultery, insanity, a spouse has been in a penal institution for at least one year after being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and carrying a sentence of at least three years, separated for one year, or mutual consent by a written settlement agreement.
- A “Complaint for Absolute Divorce” form and a “Civil Domestic Case Information Report” form must be filed with the circuit court in the county of residence. Copies then need to be served to the other spouse.
- The spouse who was served, must then “answer” the divorce complaint within 30 days if they live in Maryland, 60 days if they are out of state, or 90 days if they are out of the country. If both spouses agree to the complaint, a written settlement can be reached outside of court. However, if a spouse disagrees then it is a “contested divorce.” Disagreements on important matters such as property distribution or child custody will be resolved by a judge.
- Both spouses must then fill out a financial statement, containing information regarding any individual assets, income and expenses, joint property, liabilities, and debts. A judge will then use this information before ruling on crucial matters.