Divorce Law in Maryland
How to Find a Maryland Divorce Attorney
Is divorce right for me? Do I need an attorney? Do I have any rights to my spouse’s retirement accounts? Who will claim the children on his or her income tax return? Since I supported my spouse through graduate school, am I entitled to support now? Who will pay our debts? Who keeps the house?
If any of these questions are your questions, this article was written for you. You are likely to feel a lot better when your questions are answered.
- Maryland specific divorce law requirements;
- What you need to know about divorce; and
- Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Maryland divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find a qualified lawyer and how to prepare to work with him or her.
Maryland Divorce Law Specifics
If the divorce grounds occurred within the state of Maryland, there is no residency-waiting period. If the grounds for divorce took place outside of Maryland, there is a one-year waiting period; two years if the ground is insanity.
The divorce filings must state the grounds for divorce. In Maryland the following are sufficient grounds: adultery; desertion; voluntary separation; criminal conviction; insanity; and vicious conduct.
Maryland uses the terms, “plaintiff” and “defendant” to describe the spouse who initially filed the divorce papers and the other spouse, respectively.
Being called a “defendant” does not necessarily mean that you did anything wrong; it means that your spouse filed the divorce papers first.
- In Maryland, divorce papers are filed in the Circuit Court of a particular county.
- In some cases, alimony is available.
- In Maryland property distribution will be based upon what is equitable, which means, “fair”. Fair is not necessarily equal.
- Child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.
What You Need to Know About Divorce (to Get More of What You Want)
If you’re interested in getting more of what you want during your divorce (and who isn’t?), here is a nutshell that will help you to do just that, while keeping stress, family tension, and legal fees to a minimum.
- Go into your divorce, knowing that you and your spouse both will have to compromise. Everyone does.
- If you refuse to compromise and end up in litigation, you’ll end up paying exponentially higher legal fees and totally lose control over the divorce process, including your finances and your children.
- Hire an attorney who believes in working it out without court interference, if at all possible. This doesn’t mean that your attorney is afraid to go to court; it just that he or she knows it’s usually in your best interest to negotiate a marital settlement agreement without court interference.
- Consult with a therapist.
Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Maryland Divorce Lawyer?
We can bottom line this for you by making two points:
- First, Maryland attorneys, who go through divorce, hire their own divorce lawyers.
- Second, just one mistake could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.
How to Find and Select a Maryland Divorce Attorney
Do a Google search for “How to Find a Maryland Divorce Attorney” or ask friends for a referral to a divorce attorney they respect.
- Next, research lawyer websites and narrow your list of potential attorneys down to a few who you’d like to interview.
- It’s okay to ask questions about fees, procedures, what you can expect, the timeline, and anything else on your mind.
Select the attorney whom you think would best represent your interests and with whom you are comfortable.
How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney
Here’s your divorce preparation list nutshelled:
- Reconciliation efforts have been exhausted.
- An appointment with a therapist.
- Financial documentation has been collected.
- Any prenuptial agreements have been copied.
- A list of all assets, expenses, debts, and income has been made.
- A list of everything that is important to you has been made and prioritized.
- A list of questions and concerns has been prepared.
Has my spouse hidden assets? What divorce grounds should I cite? How much are the legal fees? What if my spouse doesn’t follow our agreement? Make a list of your divorce related questions and concerns and check in with your divorce lawyer once a week to get the answers you need.