While ending your marriage with your spouse is always a difficult decision to make, ensuring that decision is legally binding is often even more complicated. Various financial and personal questions must be answered before the divorce process can begin.
No matter how complex your situation is, a seasoned family attorney at our firm can offer customized guidance and support to help you seek a positive resolution to your case. By working with a Prince George’s County divorce lawyer, you could more effectively protect your rights during divorce proceedings while also promoting your best interests.
Absolute vs Limited Divorces
State law recognizes two different types of divorce, either of which may be appropriate in certain situations. Most spouses in our area who wish to permanently end their marriage pursue an absolute divorce. Once all issues regarding asset division, custody of children, financial obligations, and other marital concerns are settled, this type of divorce legally and permanently terminates the union between the two parties, leaving them both free to remarry if they wish.
Alternatively, a limited divorce may be the best option for spouses who do not yet have the grounds for an absolute divorce. A local attorney can help someone obtain a limited divorce, which is akin to a legal separation in Maryland. The two parties can later pursue an absolute divorce once they are ready to do so.
While other states allow for another alternative to divorce known as “legal separation,” Maryland law does not codify this as an option for local residents. Therefore, if parties who are physically separated would like some relief while they wait for the 12-month period of separation to expire, they can file for a limited divorce.
Basic Requirements to File for Divorce
Maryland law allows for no fault divorces, which means spouses in Prince George’s County can dissolve a marriage without either party having to prove any specific wrongful act by the other. In order to pursue a no-fault divorce in our area, spouses must remain physically separated for 12 consecutive months, or they must have a written separation agreement that resolves all the issues of the parties’ marriage.
It is also possible for a local lawyer to help someone seek a divorce on specific fault grounds. Different grounds may be applicable for different types of divorce. For example, a limited divorce may be pursued based on separation, desertion, or excessively vicious conduct or cruelty, while absolute divorce may be pursued based on:
- 12-month separation
- Desertion lasting for a 12-month period
- Excessively vicious conduct
- Conviction of a felony with imprisonment for at least 3 years
- Cruelty of treatment
- Mutual consent
If someone chooses to pursue a divorce in PG County, they must serve their spouse with a copy of the summons and the initial Complaint they filed with their local circuit court. That spouse then has 30 to 90 days to file their answer to the Complaint. The time to respond is dependent on whether they live in Maryland, in another state, or outside of the US.
Talk to a Prince George’s County Divorce Attorney Today
Getting married is an immensely consequential decision, so getting a divorce is understandably a complex undertaking as well. Without qualified legal guidance, you may find yourself struggling to effectively represent your best interests, and you may end up with an agreement that leaves you without the assets, properties, and financial assistance you believe you deserve.
If you want to maximize your chances of a successful and mutually agreeable case outcome, consider retaining a seasoned Prince George’s County divorce lawyer. To schedule a confidential consultation, call today.