Basic Questions

Does Maryland recognize “common law” marriages?

Maryland does not recognize common law marriage itself, but will give full faith and credit to common law marriages that were formed in another state. In other words, no matter how long you live together in Maryland, there is no common law marriage. However, should you live in a state that does recognize common law marriage and meet the threshold for common law marriage in that state before moving to Maryland, Maryland would recognize your common law marriage from the state you previously resided.

What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?

That can depend greatly. The biggest concern facing anyone seeking a divorce on their own is that they may be in over their heads. There are very specific rules that have to be followed when dealing with the court and court system. Failing to follow those rules can potentially result in an inability to thoroughly present your case at trial.

What if my spouse does not want the divorce?

Depending on the grounds for the divorce, you can move forward regardless.  For instance, the law in Maryland has recently been changed so that you may obtain a divorce after a year of living separate and apart, whether or not your spouse agreed to the separation or ultimate divorce.

Does Maryland grant annulments?

In Maryland, annulments are only granted when the marriage is void.  For instance, an annulment could be granted in the case of incest or bigamy.

Do I really need to hire an attorney?

Although a non-attorney could theoretically handle his or her own divorce, it is usually best to let a licensed professional handle the matter. Domestic litigation is rife with legal nuances that, if unknown or not understood, could put a non-attorney at a disadvantage when handling their own case. Additionally, each state has their own law when it comes to Domestic Litigation, so what held true for your friend in another state may not be true in Maryland. One of the other complicating factors when it comes to any kind of litigation is understanding and meeting the court’s procedural deadlines. By Read more

What is a divorce going to cost me? Can I afford it?

It depends. The cost of divorce is entirely case specific. If the parties have many assets and debts to evaluate for distribution, it can be a fairly long, complicated, and expensive process. There are processes like settlement and mediation that can help reduce the potential costs.

What is considered “grounds for divorce” in Maryland?

There are two types of divorce in Maryland: limited divorce (a divorce a mensa et throro) and absolute divorce (a divorce a vincula matrimonii). A limited divorce constitutes permission to live separate and apart. The primary difference between the two is that you can only remarry after obtaining an Absolute Divorce. Grounds for both types of divorce in Maryland are determined by statute. Grounds for a Limited Divorce: Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party. Excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or of a minor child of the complaining party. Desertion. Voluntary separation, Read more