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What You Need to Know About Absolute Divorce in Maryland

April 1, 2024 – Ellen L. Lee

absolute divorce in maryland

Imagine yourself in a situation like David’s. A firefighter dedicated to his community, David also cherished his 10-year marriage. However, over time, arguments about finances and a growing sense of disconnect have taken a toll. Despite initial efforts at counseling, the couple finds themselves at a crossroads.  David worries about the impact on their young daughter, Lily, but also recognizes that their current situation is unhealthy for everyone. Questions about child custody, alimony, and the legalities of divorce weigh heavy on his mind.

Facing a difficult decision about the future of your marriage? You’re not alone. Many Maryland couples grappling with marital issues turn to absolute divorce to legally end their union and move forward. If you’re contemplating this path, understanding the process and your rights is crucial.

Continue reading to learn more about absolute divorce in Maryland and how the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee can help you navigate this new chapter with confidence. If you have questions, contact us at (301) 279-0692 to schedule your confidential consultation with MD divorce attorney Ellen L. Lee. We’re here to guide you towards a brighter future throughout your divorce case in Maryland.

What is an Absolute Divorce in Maryland?

An absolute divorce legally terminates a marriage in Maryland. It allows for remarriage and resolves all outstanding issues, including property division, child custody, and spousal support. Understanding absolute divorce is crucial if you’re contemplating this path.

Recent Changes to Maryland’s Divorce Laws

Significant changes took effect in October 2023. Notably, the option for a limited divorce has been eliminated. Absolute divorce is now the sole path to legally ending a marriage. However, the residency requirement of one year for at least one spouse still applies.

Benefits of the Streamlined Process

The new legislation aims to streamline the absolute divorce process, potentially leading to a quicker resolution:

  • Six-Month Separation: The requirement to live separate and apart for at least six months with no cohabitation or intimacy can now be fulfilled while living under the same roof, as long as separate lives are maintained (e.g., separate bedrooms, finances, minimal interaction). Previously, there was a required period of one year living apart in separate residences
  • Reduced Conflict: Maintaining physical separation while cohabitating can minimize tension for families with children, allowing for a smoother transition during this challenging time.

Grounds for Absolute Divorce in Maryland

Though Maryland is now a no-fault divorce state, past instances of marital misconduct may still be considered in certain aspects of your divorce settlement, such as property division or spousal support. Discuss any relevant experiences with your attorney. Here are the three grounds for absolute divorce:

  • Six-Month Separation: Living separately and apart for at least six months with no cohabitation or intimacy. The definition of “living separately” has expanded to include couples who lead separate lives even if they reside in the same home.
  • Irreconcilable Differences: Demonstrating that marital problems are insurmountable and lead to a permanent breakdown of the relationship. This can involve issues like communication problems, incompatibility, or a lack of intimacy.
  • Mutual Consent: Reaching a written agreement with your spouse addressing child custody, support, and property division. This option can be faster and less expensive if both parties can agree on all terms.

Navigating Key Issues in Absolute Divorce

While an amicable agreement through negotiation or mediation is ideal, absolute divorce sometimes involves unresolved issues requiring court intervention.  In either scenario, several crucial aspects demand your attention:

  • Property Division: Marital and separate property will be divided according to Maryland law. Consulting an attorney can ensure a fair and equitable outcome. They can help you identify marital and separate property, value assets, and negotiate a settlement agreement.
  • Spousal Support (Alimony): Whether alimony is awarded and the amount awarded depend on factors like income disparity, the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of both parties, and the earning capacity of each spouse. An attorney can advise you on your eligibility for alimony and represent your interests during negotiations.
  • Child Custody and Support: Determining child custody arrangements and calculating child support are essential aspects of divorce with children. Maryland uses a best-interest-of-the-child standard to determine custody, considering factors like the child’s age, stability, relationship with each parent, and the ability of each parent to provide care. Child support is calculated using a formula that considers both parents’ income and the number of children. An attorney can guide you through the child custody and support process and advocate for your children’s best interests.

The Importance of Legal Guidance

Divorce is a complex legal and emotional journey. Experienced divorce lawyers in Maryland can provide invaluable guidance throughout the process, including:

  • Advising you on your rights and options under Maryland’s absolute divorce laws. They can explain the legal process, potential outcomes, and answer your questions.
  • Advocating for your best interests during negotiations and court proceedings. An attorney can represent you effectively and negotiate on your behalf to achieve a fair settlement agreement. If necessary, they will represent you confidently in court.
  • Helping navigate complex issues like child custody and property division. These issues can be highly contentious, and an attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring a fair and equitable outcome.
  • Offering emotional support during a challenging time. Divorce can be emotionally draining. Your attorney can provide a listening ear and support system as you navigate this difficult period.

Take the Next Step with the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee

At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we understand the complexities of divorce. Our experienced divorce lawyers in MD are dedicated to guiding you through the absolute divorce process with compassion and unwavering determination. We offer a comprehensive range of services, including personalized legal strategies, skilled negotiation, trial preparation, and divorce mediation support. We also have extensive experience handling same-sex, LGBTQ, and military divorce issues.

With over 35 years navigating the complexities of Maryland divorce, Ellen L. Lee brings wisdom and experience to your unique situation. She takes the time to truly understand your concerns and goals, tailoring her approach to achieve optimal outcomes for you and any children you may have. 

From convenient in-person, Zoom, and phone consultations to flexible scheduling options, Ellen prioritizes your needs throughout this challenging time. Don’t face this difficult time alone. Contact us at (301) 279-0692 or complete our online form to schedule your consultation with a compassionate MD divorce attorney and take the first step towards a brighter future. Remember, you have options. We can help you find the best path forward. 

Copyright © 2024. Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC
110 N Washington St, #404
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 279-0692 

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