Divorce can be complicated and emotionally draining for everyone involved. There are many legal nuances when dealing with matters involving your children, property, and spousal support. As such, it is crucial to consult a skilled attorney who can answer your questions and help pursue a positive outcome in your case.
If you are dissolving your marriage, speak with a Potomac divorce lawyer at our firm. Our legal team can guide you through all aspects of the marriage dissolution process.
Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in Potomac
When a spouse decides to end their marriage, they must have a valid reason for doing so, referred to as the “grounds” for divorce. They must prove these grounds through a preponderance of evidence before a judge can grant a divorce. Under Maryland Family Law Article §7-103, the acceptable grounds for divorce are:
- Certain criminal convictions
- A 12-month uninterrupted separation
- Cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct toward the party seeking divorce
A couple may also request a divorce based on their mutual consent. To obtain a divorce on these grounds, the couple must enter into a written settlement agreement that resolves all issues relating to alimony, property distribution, and child custody and support.
The type of relief a judge can grant varies depending on whether a spouse pursues divorce based on the other spouse’s misconduct. A knowledgeable divorce attorney in the area can advise a party on the grounds that may apply in their case.
The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce
When the spouses agree on all marital issues, their divorce is considered uncontested. While one spouse must still file to dissolve the marriage, a judge will generally approve the couple’s settlement and grant the divorce. The parties do not need to appear in court for a contentious trial, but at least one of them will have to appear for a 10 minute hearing in order to get the final divorce.
In a contested divorce, the parties disagree on at least one aspect of the divorce. A judge must then resolve matters such as the couple’s property division, child custody, and spousal support when applicable. Ultimately, contested divorces can be lengthy and complex. Hiring a seasoned divorce lawyer can help ensure that a spouse’s rights are protected throughout the legal process in Potomac.
Issues to Address in a Divorce Action
During their marriage, a couple will likely have accumulated assets and incurred liabilities that must be divided if they end their marital relationship. Additionally, they need to provide for the care and financial support of their children. Common issues to consider in a divorce include:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Asset division
- Transfer of retirement accounts
- Disposition of the marital home
- Health insurance
- Legal fees
Any of these areas can be contentious if the spouses disagree on how to resolve them. A dedicated divorce attorney in Potomac can advocate for a fair resolution of a couple’s property and child-related issues.
Filing for Divorce in Family Court in the Potomac Area
Marriage dissolution is a reality for many couples, and it is crucial to consult a well-practiced local attorney on the legal process before going to court. If a spouse wants to end the marital relationship, they must first file a complaint for divorce in the circuit court. The complaint must then be served on the other party who has 30 days to respond if they live in-state and 60 days if they reside outside of Maryland.
Once the opposing party has filed their answer to the divorce complaint, a judge will issue a notice for a scheduling hearing. The spouses may begin negotiating their marital issues. If they reach an agreement, a judge may incorporate the settlement into a final divorce decree.
If settlement negotiations do not result in a final resolution, the couple’s divorce action will proceed to a trial before a judge. Because this type of litigation is complex, a party facing divorce is well-advised to consult a seasoned lawyer at our firm.
Contact a Skilled Potomac Divorce Attorney Today
Deciding to divorce is never easy, and if the couple has children, it can be even more challenging. Spousal support and asset division are also areas that could lead to disagreements between the spouses.
If you wish to end your marriage, a Potomac divorce lawyer can help you navigate the often-confusing legal progress. Our experienced lawyers understand the difficulties of divorce and can offer you the support and guidance you need to move forward with your life. Call today to schedule a consultation.