Prince George’s County Divorce Attorney
Divorce is a difficult and emotional process that can leave you overwhelmed and uncertain about your future. On the one hand, the end of a marriage can bring financial, legal, and personal challenges you never knew existed. But on the other hand, the right support from an experienced Prince George’s County divorce attorney with a plan can make all the difference.
What Does a Prince George’s County Divorce Lawyer Do?
A divorce lawyer is the kind of lawyer you would go to if you need someone who handles divorce proceedings. While divorce proceedings involve many different issues, the key role of a divorce attorney is to assist clients in obtaining a legal separation from their spouse.
Now let’s take a quick look at the divorce process in Maryland.
What Is the Divorce Process in Prince George’s County, Maryland?
Before we discuss the divorce process in this state, it is essential to note that the exact procedure will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. This is because each case is different, and there’s no one-fits-all approach.
But not all divorce attorneys are the same. Some use the standard approach for each case but do not obtain the intended results. That is also one of the reasons Divorce With a Plan is a different family law firm. More on that later.
The divorce process in Prince George’s County begins by filing a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, also known as the ‘Petition,’ with the Prince George’s County Circuit Court. The Complaint must include information about the grounds for divorce, the parties involved, and any children from the marriage.
Once the Complaint has been filed, the other spouse must be served with the Complaint and a Summons. Service of process can be accomplished by:
- any individual over 18 years of age and is not a party to the case;
- the country sheriff’s service, at a fee; or
- a private process server, at a fee.
The other spouse has 30 days from the date of service to file a Response to the Complaint. If they live outside Maryland, they have 60 days to respond. On the other hand, they have 90 days to respond if they live outside the United States.
In the Response, the spouse being served with the divorce paperwork can admit or deny the allegations in the Complaint, and raise any defenses or counterclaims they may have.
Depending on how things unfold, the process might enter the discovery phase. In this phase, both parties may request information and documents from each other to help prepare their case. This can include requests for financial information, property records, and other relevant documents.
In Prince George’s County, mediation is required in most divorce cases. During mediation, both parties meet with an impartial mediator to try to reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce. If the parties reach an agreement, it will be incorporated into a Marital Settlement Agreement.
In the unfortunate event that the parties cannot reach an agreement through mediation, the case will likely proceed to trial. A family law judge will examine evidence from both sides and decide on the terms of the divorce. The judge’s decision will cover issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody.
Once the judge has made a ruling, a Final Order of Absolute Divorce will be entered, effectively marking the end of the marriage.
What Is the Legal Definition of Divorce in Maryland?
In Maryland, divorce is defined as the legal process of ending a marriage. A divorce is usually granted by a court and dissolves the legal bonds of matrimony between two individuals. The purpose of a divorce is to terminate the legal relationship between the spouses, divide the marital property, and determine any financial obligations, such as alimony or child support.
What Are Some Important Laws Regarding Divorce in Maryland?
Maryland has broad divorce laws. Here are a few notable ones.
To file for divorce in Maryland if either the petitioner or the respondent must be a state resident. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside Maryland, then either the petitioner or respondent must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. Keep in mind that the petitioner is the spouse seeking a divorce, while the respondent is the spouse who is being divorced.
Grounds for divorce
Maryland recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. As the name suggests, ‘no-fault’ divorce means that there is no evidence or claim or wrongdoing as the grounds for divorce. On the other hand, the ‘fault-based’ system means that the petitioner wants to file for divorce because of the other party’s wrongdoing.
The most common grounds for no-fault divorce are mutual consent (where both parties agree to the divorce) and separation (where the parties have lived apart for at least 12 months). Common fault-based grounds for divorce include adultery, cruelty, and desertion.
Maryland is an “equitable distribution” state. This means the court will divide the marital property fairly and equitably, not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.
Maryland law allows the court to award alimony, also known as spousal support. The amount and duration of alimony will depend on the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of the parties involved, and the needs and abilities of each spouse, among other factors.
In Maryland, the court will award custody based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider various factors before making such a decision. These factors may include the relationship between the child and each parent, the financial stability of each parent, and the child’s home, school, and community environment.
Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support depends on the state’s child support guidelines, which also consider the income of both parents, the number of children, and other relevant factors.
Where Do I File for Divorce in Maryland?
In Maryland, divorce cases are filed in the Circuit Court of the county where either the petitioner or the respondent resides. For example, as mentioned earlier, if you reside in Prince George’s County, you will need to file the petition at the Prince George’s County Circuit Court.
If both parties reside in different counties, the petitioner may file the Complaint for Divorce in either county. Once the divorce petition has been filed, the case will be assigned to a specific court location within the Circuit Court.
If you have any questions or concerns about where to file the petition, a Prince George’s County divorce attorney at Divorce With a Plan can guide you. All you need is a consultation with one of us.
Will I Need To Receive or Pay Alimony?
The short answer is that it depends on your individual circumstances and the terms of your divorce agreement. Let’s take a deeper look at these factors.
The court will consider several factors when determining whether to award alimony, including the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, and the needs and abilities of each spouse to support themselves. Other factors include the age and health of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage.
Contrary to popular opinion, alimony is not automatically awarded in every divorce case. So, just because you filed for divorce does not automatically mean that the judge will award you alimony. Similarly, getting divorced does not necessarily mean you do not owe your former spouse alimony.
The bottom line is that each case is different. It is only after discussing the unique circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney that you will understand your rights and options per Maryland’s family laws.
Will My Divorce Go to Trial?
Again, this will depend on your unique situation and the willingness of the parties to settle. In many cases, divorce proceedings are resolved through negotiation and agreement between the parties involved without needing a trial. This can be done through direct negotiations between the parties, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution methods. But if the parties fail to agree, the case may go to trial as a last resort.
How a Divorce Lawyer From Divorce With a Plan Can Help You
Divorce without a plan can be a recipe for disaster whether you are the petitioner or respondent. As the petitioner, you may lose rights you never knew you had. On the other hand, if you are the respondent, you may end up agreeing to things you should not have to, simply because you want to get it done and move on with your life.
But that is not how to approach something as sensitive as a divorce. At Divorce with a Plan, our attorneys can provide the valuable assistance you need to navigate the divorce process. This is because we have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding divorce in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland.
In addition, we can help explain your rights and responsibilities and the steps involved in your specific divorce process.
And when you need someone to help you negotiate a fair and equitable settlement with your spouse, we will be there with you throughout this journey. To achieve the best possible outcome, we will take into account your financial, emotional, and personal needs.
You can count on our attorneys to be your advocate and represent your interests in court if your case goes to trial. We will present your case in the best possible manner and ensure that your rights are respected and protected.
And, finally, we understand that the divorce process can be emotional and stressful. That is why we provide the emotional support our clients need to navigate these difficult times, allowing them to focus on their next phase of life.
Need help with your case? Contact us to schedule a consultation with a Prince George’s County Divorce attorney and to get the most out of the consultation, consider going through our Divorce Checklist.