Fulton Divorce Lawyers
Protecting spouses and children when a marriage ends in Maple Lawn
When a marriage ends, you should know that while divorce is rarely a smooth transition, it does not have to ruin your life. We believe that the divorce process can be the catalyst that ushers you in to your new life. Effective divorce litigation can put you in the best financial and emotional situation possible, so you can start your new life with confidence and security. Diligent and aggressive divorce representation can help you understand your choices, preserve your assets and provide for your children.
At McCabe Russell, PA, our respected divorce lawyers understand the potential trauma of divorce. We understand divorce can be upsetting whether you’ve been married for one year or 50. Our Fulton divorce lawyers explain your rights, determine the full range of family assets and ascertain your needs now and in the years to come. We negotiate settlements with your spouse only when they are fair and litigate when your spouse is being unreasonable. Our lawyers are experienced and respected for our ability to handle every phase of your divorce.
Understanding divorce options in Maryland
In Maryland, couples can either obtain an absolute divorce or a limited divorce.
An absolute divorce ends the marriage; it is what most people think of when they hear the word “divorce.” In the end, your assets have been divided, child support and child custody have been arranged and ordered, and alimony has been determined (if applicable). You are now free to remarry if you wish.
A limited divorce entitles the spouses to live apart from one another. It does not allow for intimate relations with a non-spouse; that would be considered adultery. Limited divorces are not a prerequisite to absolute divorces. Couples obtain them if they cannot settle their disputes on their own and have not yet committed to a divorce. A limited divorce may help the spouses slowly move apart and may have financial benefits. Limited divorce decrees address the issues of child custody and child support since the children are still their priority. The limited divorce decree should also determine the amount of spousal support and who is entitled to live in the marital home.
What are grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland?
There are six at-fault grounds for absolute divorce:
- Adultery is when one, or both, parties had voluntary intimate relations with someone other than their spouse.
- This occurs when one partner leaves the marriage without any intent to return.
- No spouse should have to live with another spouse who is violent towards them or any child.
- This ground requires verification by a licensed physician that a spouse is legally insane and proof that the spouse has been hospitalized or resided in a mental institution for three years before the divorce.
- Any spouse can obtain a divorce if the other spouse has been convicted of a crime, sentenced to three or more years in jail, and has served at least 12 months of the sentence.
- Excessively vicious conduct. You can file under these grounds if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Contested vs. uncontested: divorce when there is no fault
Whether you are “traditional” couple seeking a divorce, or an LGBTQ client seeking a divorce, you have the option to pursue no-fault grounds for the end of your marriage. An uncontested divorce in Maryland requires that both parties agree on every term of the divorce including:
- Child custody, a parenting time schedule, child support
- Division of marital assets and debts
- Whether there will be alimony, what type and how much
Any couple with minor children must wait 12 months after separation before the divorce decree is finalized, even in an uncontested situation. If you and your spouse do not have minor children, you may file under mutual consent grounds.
What are some additional concerns for divorcing couples?
The dissolution of the marriage contract is just one part of the divorce. Divorce decrees also provide for:
- Division of property. You only get one chance to negotiate or litigate a fair deal for your marital property. It is essential to know all your current and future assets and your rights to collect them. This includes homes, cars, bank accounts, IRAs, pensions, personal possessions, social security benefits and many other tangible assets.
- Child custody and support. The court will focus on what is in the best interests of your children. Maryland allows for legal and physical custody. Custody can be sole or joint. What type of custody order you have determines where the children live, who makes the long-range and daily decisions, how emergencies are handled and essential child-rearing issues. Once a child support order is entered, it is hard to change it. Child support orders should reflect the ability of each parent to provide for the children until they reach majority.
- Alimony. Payment of spousal support can be short-term, awarded for a period of time or indefinite. Alimony helps spouses who are not the breadwinners, or the major earner, adjust to life without the financial support of the other spouse.
Is mediation an option in Maryland divorce?
Couples who wish to dissolve their marriage may voluntarily choose divorce mediation. A mediator is a neutral third-party who does not represent either party. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the parties as they work out a divorce agreement themselves. Each party can and most often is represented by a Columbia divorce attorney who advises them and guides them as the negotiations take place, and then they will draft the final divorce agreement once mediation has ended. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement during mediation, the divorce would then have to be litigated.
Speak with our well-respected Maple Lawn and Fulton divorce attorneys today
The Fulton divorce attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA have been fighting for spouses, parents and children for more than a quarter century. We have earned the respect of other lawyers and families across Howard County because of our commitment to getting the best results for our clients. To schedule a consultation, please call 443-812-1435 or complete our contact form.
8171 Maple Lawn Blvd
Fulton, Maryland 20759
Phone: (443) 812-1435