When initiating a divorce, there are several steps that the filing party must take. Which spouse initiates does not matter in family law and will not impact the outcome of the case. However, the initial process requirements vary depending on who is filing and who is receiving the initial complaint.
The first step in any marriage dissolution is to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help navigate the process. Our skilled legal team could offer crucial advice on the initial steps of a divorce in Rockville.
The Role of the Spouse Filing for Divorce
A resident of Rockville may begin the divorce process by filing an initial complaint, often with the help of a knowledgeable attorney. This divorce petition may be called different things depending on what is at stake.
If there are no minor children, then the initial complaint is called a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. If there are custody disputes or other issues, then the party will file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Custody, Support and Other Relief. Basically, the petition will include the matters that are going to be at issue in the divorce.
What is Included in an Initial Complaint for Divorce?
The initial divorce petition will include various forms of information, such as:
- Parties’ names
- The date they were married
- Where they have lived for the past six months
- If there are minor children involved
- Wishes for the division of marital property
- Any issues regarding alimony
- Plea for custody
- Plea for child support
- A detailed summary of what the filing party is seeking from the Court.
Those seeking divorce in Rockville should first contact a seasoned lawyer to advise on filing the initial complaint.
The Role of the Responding Spouse in a Rockville Divorce
After a spouse is served the divorce complaint and summons, their first step is to look at the complaint paragraph by paragraph and either admit or deny what is being alleged. This initial process of the divorce, they will respond by filing their responsive pleading, known as an Answer. The responding spouse may also file a counter complaint, motion to dismiss, or other types of responsive pleadings, which a local attorney could explain in further detail.
Importantly, a spouse served with divorce papers must respond within 30 days if they are in the state of Maryland. Even if the spouse does not want the divorce, they must respond or risk being in default and losing their say in the initial proceedings. As such, the first step for someone served with a divorce petition is to consult nearby legal counsel who could help them answer the complaint.
Can a Receiving Spouse Contest a Divorce Petition in Rockville?
Except in uncontested divorces, the receiving spouse generally contests the petition right away in their answer. If the spouse denies any allegations when responding to the initial complaint, they are contesting the divorce. Essentially, this means that they do not agree with what the filing spouse is saying, how they are saying it, or what they are asking for. When contesting a divorce petition, it is important to first meet with a skilled attorney in the area who could advise on how to best respond to the initial complaint.
Seek Legal Guidance on the Initial Steps of a Divorce in Rockville
The best time to hire a proficient legal advisor is at the start of your marriage dissolution. Because divorce cases are often complicated, it is important to involve an attorney from the beginning to ensure that the process proceeds smoothly and to ensure you do not miss the opportunity for certain relief.
If you are filing for a marriage dissolution or have been served with a complaint, discuss the initial steps of a divorce in Rockville with an experienced lawyer. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation.