Divorce is often thought of as contentious and immensely stressful, which is understandable given the experiences that most divorcing couples have with this process. However, suppose you and your spouse want to dissolve your marriage but are still on good terms and can work together to find mutually agreeable solutions to marital issues. In that case, you might be able to go through a vastly simplified divorce process that could be completed much quicker than normal with minimal heartache or headaches.
You will need to meet several criteria to successfully file for an uncontested divorce, all of which a seasoned divorce attorney can provide vital help understanding and complying with. If you think this option might serve your family’s interests, get in touch with a Frederick uncontested divorce lawyer to discuss your situation.
When Is Uncontested Divorce Possible in Frederick?
The same residency requirements for a contested divorce in Maryland also apply to uncontested divorces. At least one involved spouse must be a current resident of Maryland to file for divorce, with an additional requirement that the residency period must date back at least six continuous months before filing if the grounds named for the divorce happened outside Maryland.
Most people seeking uncontested divorces file based on “mutual consent” grounds, meaning that both parties have made a written agreement resolving all issues in their marriage and they agree that their relationship has broken down and that dissolution of their marriage is their desired resolution. However, filing for uncontested divorce in Frederick is also possible if the parties have lived separate and apart for at least 12 months. You can also file for divorce and have some issues uncontested. As a qualified attorney can further explain, the grounds for divorce may be “uncontested” but there may be issues such as child support, asset division, custody that are still contested.
Steps to Filing for Mutual Consent Divorce
Before starting the filing process, spouses intending to seek an uncontested divorce in Frederick or anywhere else in Maryland based on mutual consent must draft and sign a settlement agreement together. This agreement must specify how marital property and debts will be divided, how child custody and support will be handled, and whether and how much alimony will be paid from one spouse to the other. If needed, an uncontested divorce lawyer in Frederick can also help incorporate other important issues into the agreement.
The spouses must then submit the agreement to the court alongside the following:
- Completed forms for a complaint for absolute divorce
- A Civil Domestic Information Report
- A copy of the written and signed marital settlement agreement
- Other documents like a child-support worksheet, if applicable
Whoever files the paperwork must ensure copies of all the submitted documents are served to the non-filing spouse, generally by a sheriff or private process server.
Finally, at least one spouse must appear for a hearing after the court reviews all submitted documents, essentially just to ensure neither party wants the agreement set aside and that all terms related to child custody and support are in the child’s best interests. If the judge approves the agreement, they can then incorporate it into a final divorce decree.
Contact a Frederick Uncontested Divorce Attorney for Help
Although uncontested divorces can be completed much faster than contested divorces, that does not mean they are easy to obtain. You will still need to work closely with your spouse and their legal counsel to draft an enforceable settlement agreement and fulfill various other filing requirements, all of which could be very challenging to handle alone.
Fortunately, assistance is available from an experienced and dedicated Frederick uncontested divorce lawyer. Call today to discuss your legal options.