Divorce Procedure

How and where is a divorce complaint filed?

In Maryland, a divorce complaint must be filed with the Circuit Court for the county that has jurisdiction. The party filing the initial complaint will also have to pay a filing fee. The Complaint and the Summons, which will be generated by the court, will then have to be properly served on the opposing party.

What forms do I need to file a divorce?

To initiate a case for divorce, you will need to file a Complaint for an Absolute and/or Limited Divorce, a financial statement, and a Maryland Civil Domestic Case Information Report. These are only the papers you would need to begin the case. The progression of the case after filing will dictate what other papers may have to be filed.

Do I have to appear in court?

To obtain a divorce in Maryland, even if a divorce is uncontested and all of the issues have been resolved by agreement, the Plaintiff (or the party that filed the initial Complaint) will have to appear in court to give specifically required testimony regarding the marriage and divorce. That party will also be required to bring a witness to corroborate the necessary testimony. If a divorce is contested and/or there are outstanding issues that have not been settled at the time of the trial or hearing regarding the divorce, both parties will likely have to appear in court.

When is my case going to be over?

The length of a case for divorce depends on the complexity of the matter and the jurisdiction in which it is being heard. For instance, an uncontested divorce where the parties have agreed to all issues and the Complaint and Answer were filed contemporaneously, may take as little as two months. Most cases do not move so quickly.

When can I file for divorce?

A limited divorce can be filed immediately, regardless of the grounds. The time period in which to file for an absolute divorce will be determined by the grounds for the divorce.

Will my child need to appear in court?

Most courts do not encourage the appearance of the minor child. For instance, the Family Division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court does not allow minors in the courtrooms. If the testimony of a child is relevant and/or necessary, the judge or the master will most likely speak with the child in chambers as opposed to open court.

Can I collect my own evidence to use if my case goes to court?

Yes, however you will need to abide by the Maryland Rules of Evidence in introducing the proposed evidence. Also, if there has been discovery in your case, you will need to insure that you complied with any requests for said evidence during discovery, or you may be prevented from entering it as evidence at the time of the trial.