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How to Start your Maryland Divorce Case


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This brief article will discuss the steps everyone must take to getting a divorce in Maryland. Regardless of your situation, certain steps must be taken in order for the Court to consider your Maryland divorce petition. This brief article will lay out these divorce steps.

1. Filing for a Maryland divorce.

There are two (2) basic items necessary to commence your case…

a. Complaint for Divorce: A Maryland divorce starts with submitting a Complaint for divorce in the county of the state of proper jurisdiction.

If you, or your spouse have been residents of the State of Maryland for six (6) months or more before the date you file your divorce Complaint, you may file for divorce in Maryland. You may also file if the action you are alleging occurred in the State of Maryland.

For instance, if you are filing for an absolute divorce in Maryland and you claim your spouse committed adultery in Maryland, this means the alleged adultery occurred in the state. To learn more about the grounds for divorce in Maryland, you may review/read our article which details the grounds for divorce here.

You must sign your divorce Complaint for the document to be accepted by the Clerks.

b. Filing fee: At the time of filing your Maryland divorce Complaint, you must submit your filing fee to the Clerks.

For current filing fees, contact the Court or check the court website. You may file for a fee waiver, if you do not have the money. However, most fee waivers are rejected.

To ensure your divorce Complaint will be accepted, it is advisable to pay the divorce Complaint filing fee in lieu of requesting a waiver. If you would like the Sherriff to serve the Complaint on your spouse, you must pay an additional fee to have the Sherriff serve your spouse with the Maryland divorce Complaint.

Again, contact the Court or check the court website for current fees.

2. Service on the Defendant.

Due process requires a Defendant be notified that a divorce Complaint has been filed against him/her.

As such, the Maryland divorce Complaint filed by you must be served on the Defendant. You may have the Sherriff attempt to deliver the Maryland divorce Complaint, or hire/ask someone to serve the divorce Complaint for you. Once the divorce Complaint has been served/delivered, a document called an Affidavit of Service must be completed by the person who served the Maryland divorce Complaint.

This completed Affidavit of Service is then filed with the Court. If service of the Maryland divorce Complaint is being sent by certified mail, with signed returned receipt, you must ask another person to mail this Complaint for you.

Once the Defendant is served he/she has thirty (30) days to respond if they are living in state of Maryland. The Defendant has sixty (60) days to respond if they are living in another State, and ninety (90) days to respond if they reside outside the United States. If the Defendant fails to respond to the Maryland divorce complaint within the time mentioned above, you may file a Request for an Order of Default with the Court.

On the other hand, if your spouse files a response to your Maryland divorce Complaint, the Court will set the case in for a date for you, and your spouse to appear to discuss all the issues in your case.

This is only the initial Court Hearing. There will be other dates set in the future, if the case isn’t settled. Along with the Answer, the Defendant may also file their own Divorce Complaint against you in the same case.

This is known as a Counter-Complaint (Counterclaim) against you. If this happens, you are required to file an Answer to their Counter against you.

You may contact us today at The Firm, LLC (703 227 7157 and/or to discuss your potential claim/issue.

If we believe we can assist you, we will set up a formal consultation with you to further discuss your matter.

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Legal Disclaimer: The above information is created for general information purposes only. As such, the information and contents should not be deemed formal legal advice; nor does the information and contents create a lawyer/client relationship between any party and the editors/creators”. We encourage persons accessing the Newsletter to seek the advice of counsel to discuss their specific legal issues/situation.

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