How do I file for a military divorce in Maryland? According to research, military divorce rates tend to be a bit higher than the national average. If you’re a member of the military stationed in Maryland and considering divorce, there are some things you should know about the process. First, it’s quite different from civilian marriages, so you need to be prepared. You’ll also need a professional divorce attorney to help with the case. Here is everything you need to learn about filing a military divorce.
Government Mandate on Military Divorce
First, it’s important to understand that while state law governs most aspects of divorce, military divorces are governed by federal law. This means that if you or your spouse is a member of the military, you’ll need to follow the rules and procedures set forth by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Here is everything you need to know on how to file a military divorce in Maryland.
The USFSPA gives military spouses certain rights and protections when it comes to dividing up property and assets, as well as calculating child support and spousal support payments.
Before you can file for divorce in Maryland, you’ll need to meet the state’s residency requirements. To file for divorce in Maryland, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing. If you’ve only been stationed in Maryland for a short time, you may need to wait until you’ve met this residency requirement before you can file for divorce.
Gather the Necessary Paperwork
You’ll need to fill out a Complaint for Absolute Divorce and a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment. You’ll also need to provide a copy of your military ID and your spouse’s military ID. You’ll also need to fill out a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet if you have children.
In addition, both spouses will need to provide financial information, such as tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements. Once you have all the necessary paperwork, you’ll need to file it with the circuit court in your county.
How to File a Military Divorce in Maryland
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to file for a military divorce in Maryland.
Get Consent from Your Spouse
If you’re married to a service member, you will need to get their consent before filing for divorce. The service member must sign a document called the “Consent to Divorce”, which gives you permission to file. You can find this document at your local courthouse or online. The thing is, getting your spouse to sign this document can be difficult, especially if they are deployed.
If you can’t get your spouse to sign the Consent to Divorce, you can still file for divorce without their permission. However, you will need to prove that your spouse received notice of the divorce proceedings and had a chance to respond.
Ensure You’re Filing in the Right State
You or your spouse must be a resident of Maryland for at least six months before filing. Once you have met this residency requirement, you may file in the county where either you or your spouse reside.
If you do not meet the residency requirements of Maryland, you will need to file for divorce in the state where your spouse is stationed. If your spouse is deployed overseas and you don’t know their whereabouts, you will need to file in the last state where they were stationed.
Determine the Type of Divorce You Want: Contested or Uncontested
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse cannot agree on at least one aspect of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, or division of assets. An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce.
If you have a contested divorce, you will need to hire an attorney. If you have an uncontested divorce, you may be able to use an online divorce service or do the divorce yourself.
File the Complaint and Serve Your Spouse
To begin the process, you will need to file a complaint with the circuit court in the county where you live. The complaint is also known as a petition for dissolution of marriage. Once you have filed the complaint, you must serve your spouse with the summons and complaint. You can do this yourself or have someone else do it for you.
If you are unable to locate your spouse, you may be able to serve them by publication. This means that you will need to publish notice of the divorce in a newspaper in the county where they were last known to reside. You will also need to send a copy of the notice to your spouse by certified mail.
Your spouse will then have 30 days to respond to the complaint. If they do not respond, you may proceed with an uncontested divorce. If they do respond, you will need to resolve any contested issues before proceeding with the divorce.
Finalize the Divorce
Once you have resolved all of the contested issues, you will need to prepare and file a divorce decree with the court. The decree is a legal document that finalizes the divorce. Once the decree is signed by a judge, your divorce will be final.
You will then need to file the decree with the clerk of court in the county where you filed the complaint. The clerk will provide you with a certified copy of the decree, which you will need to keep for your records. You may also need to file other documents with the court, such as a financial affidavit and child custody agreement, if applicable.
Get Help With Your Military Divorce in Maryland
Filing for a military divorce in Maryland can be a complex process. If you have any questions or need assistance, it is best to speak with an attorney who specializes in military divorce. An attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and that the process goes smoothly.
Contact a Lawyer Today
Divorce With a Plan has experience handling military divorces in Maryland and can help you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and we’ll be more than glad to help you through this rough patch.