It is a sad and simple fact that over half of marriages nationwide now end in divorce. This could be the result of abuse, infidelity, or other instances of poor behavior committed by a spouse. Still other divorces are the product of two people simply no longer getting along. Regardless of the reason for the breakdown of the marriage, a Bethesda family court may decide essential questions concerning child custody, the distribution of property, and alimony.

A steadfast Bethesda divorce lawyer could help to fight for your rights during any divorce proceeding. If you are looking to start a divorce case, a seasoned family law attorney can work to file the necessary paperwork with the court to initiate the process. If you have recently been served with a divorce complaint, they can help to prepare an answer designed to preserve your rights in court.

When Will a Court Entertain a Divorce Case?

It may seem like common sense that a person is able to file for a divorce in the family court nearest to where they currently live. However, the state laws that govern the jurisdiction of Bethesda family courts have strict requirements as to when a person may ask a court to rule on a divorce.

A person cannot relocate to the state for the mere purpose of filing for a divorce in a location with more favorable terms. Under Maryland Code Family Law §7-101, one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to the plaintiff filing the complaint for divorce.

There are also specific rules that require the two spouses to live separately for at least 12 months prior to asking the court to rule on a no-fault divorce. However, a spouse can file for a limited divorce based on separation as soon as they separate, just not a final or absolute divorce.  Plaintiffs in divorce cases can allege fault grounds that their spouse has committed an act that makes a continued marriage impossible, and then they can file for an absolute before 12 months separation

Known as at-fault divorces, Md. Code Family Law §7-103 lists a variety of reasons that a spouse may cite on a divorce complaint them to file for divorce immediately. These include desertion, cruelty, a conviction for a crime with a lengthy jail sentence, and insanity, and adultery. A dedicated Bethesda divorce attorney could help people to determine if and when a Bethesda court will hear their divorce petition and to choose the legal path that offers the best chance for a speedy resolution.

Common Issues in Divorce Cases

Any divorce, whether one initiated by an at-fault complaint or a mutual desire to split, must answer a multitude of questions concerning the couple’s future. A divorce is not just a spiritual or physical split of two people; the court must fashion a new legal reality for both parties.

Perhaps the most important matter in divorces is making provisions for the care and custody of any shared children. This affects not only where the child will live, but what support amounts a non-custodial parent will have to pay. It is not uncommon for parents to agree on most other aspects of a divorce but to fight a lengthy battle over the custody of the children.

Divorces must also make decisions concerning the distribution of property. This includes deciding which person retains rights over physical property, real estate, and even bank accounts. To provide an even economic playing field following a divorce, a court could also require a spouse to pay alimony while the other finishes an education, get a job, or finds a place to live. A skilled divorce lawyer in Bethesda could help individuals to understand the common issues in divorce cases and fight to protect their rights for the future.

Let a Bethesda Divorce Attorney Assist You

The end of a marriage is always a difficult time. Regardless of the reasons for a divorce, any end to a marriage must establish the legal rights of both spouses moving forward. This includes the rights to property, the ability to raise children, and whether you will pay or receive alimony.

Oftentimes, people must ask for a trial in a Bethesda family court to decide these matters, if they can’t agree. In these cases, experienced legal counsel could fight to protect your rights in these sessions. However, other divorces can end with a settlement agreement where the spouses mutually agree on how to end the marriage. A Bethesda divorce lawyer could work to identify your goals and establish a plan on how to make those goals a reality. Call today to make an appointment.