Issues such as how to divide debt and property and how to allocate child custody make the emotional process of divorce even more complicated and stressful. Men often feel like the odds are stacked against them.
But the right attorney can guide you through the proceedings with compassionate and effective representation.
The team of contested divorce lawyers at the Carmiece Graves Law Firm bring specialized experience and unique skills to high-asset and complex divorce cases. Call the Carmiece Graves Law Firm at 240-573-7153 to learn more about how we work to achieve your objectives in divorce.
Maryland Divorce Law
Divorce law in Maryland is complex. A divorce can be absolute or limited, and it can be contested or uncontested.
The absolute or final divorce process legally separates the couple, so both parties regain their single status. Following an absolute divorce, both parties are free to marry other people.
Not all couples satisfy the requirements for a final divorce. For example, if the couple has not been separated for 12 consecutive months, they may not qualify. In this case, the couple can file for a limited divorce, which means they are legally separated but may maintain tax benefits and other shared assets.
For an uncontested divorce, the couple must agree in advance on all terms including child custody, alimony, property division. If the couple cannot agree on everything, the divorce is considered contested, and a judge will decide on the terms based on the evidence presented in court.
Grounds for Divorce
The grounds for a final divorce in Maryland include:
- Voluntary separation for 12 consecutive months
- Involuntary separation for two successive years
- Specific misdemeanor and felony convictions
- Excessively vicious conduct
Couples most often file for divorce under the grounds of a twelve-month voluntary and mutual separation, which is considered a “no-fault” divorce, but any one of these reasons is sufficient to file for an absolute divorce.
The Contested Divorce Process in Maryland
In a contested divorce, one of the two parties initiates the divorce process, either with or without the knowledge of the other.
Complaint and Answer
To file for a divorce, the instigating party (the plaintiff) must file a complaint that outlines the following:
- That the plaintiff has resided in Maryland for 12 months
- The grounds for divorce (from the list above)
- The location and date of the marriage
- The names of both parties prior to the marriage
- The names and birthdays of the couple’s minor children, if any
It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to deliver the complaint to the other party in the marriage. Many people opt to have their contested divorce lawyer take responsibility for delivering the paperwork rather than do it in person, especially if the relationship is volatile.
The other party (the defendant) must then file an answer to the complaint, in which they can confirm or deny the complaint and respond with defenses and counterclaims.
Before the divorce proceedings go to court, the divorce lawyers for both sides prep their clients, search for precedents, and help gather and review documents, such as mortgage statements, financial records, and other evidence. This part of the process is usually the most important because it is critical to gain an accurate picture of the financial and family situation to develop reasonable and fair goals for each of the issues to be decided.
Both parties must appear in court. Based on the written evidence and information revealed in court, the judge will reach decisions on property division, child custody and visitation, debt responsibility, alimony, retirement benefits, and any other relevant issue. It is crucial to ensure that your divorce attorney presents all important information to support your objectives for each issue that the court will determine.
An Experienced Contested Divorce Attorney in Maryland
With extensive experience handling complex financial issues, the contested divorce lawyers at the Carmiece Graves Law Firm know how to help you reach your goals so you can come through the divorce process ready to move forward. Contact the mens’ divorce team at the Carmiece Graves Law Firm at 240-573-7153 to get started.