An individual spouse who wishes to file for divorce must allege a valid legal ground to properly initiate their marriage dissolution in the State of Maryland. For instance, they may cite one of the legally accepted contested grounds, mutual consent, or a 12-month separation as their reason for filing for divorce. Those divorcing on the basis of a 12-month separation must wait until a year has elapsed before initiating divorce trials in Montgomery County.
If the parties have not been separated 12 months and a spouse wants to end their marriage, one of them could file for a limited divorce. However, a limited divorce would not grant them an absolute or final dissolution, as it does not absolve the marriage or settle marital property issues. In a limited divorce, the parties could still get a custody, spousal maintenance, or child support orders with the help of an attorney, until either party files for an absolute divorce.
How to File for Divorce
One spouse would need to file a complaint of absolute and/or limited divorce in the circuit court for Montgomery County and let the tribunal know that it has jurisdiction to hear their case. They would then have to list the grounds for divorce to explain why they are seeking marriage dissolution as well as what relief they are asking for before the court. After the court issues a summons and the petitioning party properly serves the defendant, it would be the latter’s turn to file their response.
How Often do Divorces go to Trial?
The majority of Montgomery County divorce cases settle before they go to trial. Some divorces even settle on the day of trial. Either way, there are many opportunities before trial for the parties to settle their contested issues. The court provides a lot of resources, as it typically favors independent resolution between divorcing spouses. Our attorneys work very hard to try to settle a case for the parties, because it is in the best interests of the spouses and their children to resolve their issues outside of court, if possible.
What to Expect from Montgomery County Divorce Trials
Montgomery County divorce trials do not look alike since each case is unique. Both spouses usually have their own legal representation. The attorneys could assist the parties in narrowing their contested marital issues before the court. Both parties should invest a lot of time and effort into the discovery process, which involves searching for and obtaining various documents to be used as evidence in a case.
Depending on how many issues there are, how many witnesses either side has, and whether there are any experts involved determines how long the trial process will be. There is no set time for how long divorce trials in Montgomery County can take. For example, a contested divorce case is likely to take more than a year, whereas an uncontested dissolution could take as little as 30 days.
For more information on how these cases typically play out in trial, it is best to ask a local lawyer who has experience with the Montgomery County court system. Do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today if you still have questions.