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Getting a Divorce in Annapolis, MD?

Representation for Limited & Absolute Divorce Annapolis Divorce Lawyers

A divorce action is a court order legally ending a marriage. In Maryland, there are two types of divorce: limited divorce and absolute divorce. At Rice Law, we help clients with both types of divorces. Our Annapolis lawyer can explain the differences between the two types of divorce and help you determine the best way to move forward in your situation.

For advice specific to your situation, call (410) 709-8971 to schedule a consultation with one of our Annapolis attorneys. 

What is a Limited Divorce?

A limited divorce is granted when the parties do not have grounds for an absolute divorce but need the court’s assistance on limited matters, including custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and use and possession of the marital home. The action does not end the marriage, but instead, results in a Court Order, or an agreement, on some of the issues listed above.

What is an Absolute Divorce?

An absolute divorce permanently ends a marriage. The final divorce decree specifies how property is to be divided, alimony, custody of any minor children, child support payments, and any changes to the last name of either spouse. Jointly owned property is divided equitably, which may or may not mean equally. Any agreements, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will be enforceable during a divorce. In order to file for an absolute divorce, the person must have grounds for the divorce.

Grounds for divorce in Maryland may include:

  • One year separation
  • Adultery
  • Mutual consent
  • Desertion
  • Insanity
  • Cruel or violent treatment
  • Incarceration of three or more years

For either type of divorce, Maryland has statutory residency requirements. If the grounds for divorce did not happen in Maryland, there is a six-month residency requirement. When using insanity as the grounds, the residency requirement is two years. There is no residency requirement when both spouses are residents of the state and the grounds for the divorce occurred in Maryland.

Divorce Process in Maryland

These are the initial steps that need to be taken when filing for divorce in Maryland.

  • Service of Complaint & Writ of Summons – The first document is what a spouse uses to file for divorce. The second document will be issued by the court clerk along with the initial petition. These two documents will be “served” to the defendant spouse.
    • Service of Process – This refers to the official process by which the defendant spouse must be served the divorce papers.
  • Answer to the Complaint – This is the defendant’s answer to the documents he or she has been served. A “Counter Complaint for Absolute Divorce” can be issued as well, which allows the defendant to state different grounds for the divorce.
    • In-state defendant has 30 days to respond
    • Out-of-state defendant has 60 days to respond
    • Out-of-county defendant has 90 days to respond
  • Financial Disclosures – Each spouse must complete a financial statement. This will disclose information about the assets, liabilities, income, and expenses each spouse independently has in addition to any property or debts they jointly own.

If you are contemplating divorce, call our lawyer at (410) 709-8971 to discuss the options that are available to you under Maryland state law.

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