What Are the Issues Covered in a Maryland Divorce?
A Maryland Divorce is a complex litigation that may cover many different issues, depending on the spouses’ circumstance(s)/situation.
What are the reasons I can get a divorce in Maryland?
There are two types of categories (known as “grounds”) for divorce in Maryland. The two (2) categories fall under no fault grounds or fault based grounds. The two (2) no fault grounds that can be used in a Maryland divorce case is mutual consent and separation. Other grounds are fault based grounds and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence in order to be granted a divorce in Maryland.
The fault based grounds are desertion of a year or more, constructive desertion of a year or more, cruelty to the other spouse and/or minor children of the parties, excessively vicious conduct to the other spouse and/or minor children of the parties, adultery, insanity which resulted in confinement in a mental institution, and conviction of a crime resulting in a sentence of three (3) years or more and at least 12 months of the sentence has been served.
What are the child related issues in a Maryland Divorce case?
When the parties have minor children, there are several issues that the court will have to determine. The first is what the child’s time sharing schedule should be with each parent. This is known as a physical custody determination. There are two types of physical custody in Maryland divorce cases: shared physical custody and sole physical custody. Shared physical custody means each parent has the child for a minimum of 128 overnights.
This may change as legislation may be passed to reduce the overnight number to qualify for shared custody but as of September 1, 2019 this is still the law. Anything under the 128 nights is considered sole physical custody to the parent that has the majority of time.
The second issue that is tied to physical custody is child support. There are two types of child support guidelines: sole physical custody child support guidelines and shared physical custody child support guidelines. The child support guidelines will be based on the gross combined income of the parties, work related child care expenses, pre-existing child support payments, and the amount paid to cover health insurance for the children. Again, the numbers will differ based on the number of overnights each parent is with the child.
The final child related determination in Maryland a divorce case is legal custody. Legal custody covers the ability to make decisions concerning the child’s health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. There are two types of legal custody: joint legal custody and sole legal custody. Joint Legal custody means both parents would be involved in making the above major life decisions concerning the child. Sole legal means one parent will be primarily responsible for making the above major life decisions concerning the child.
What are the property issues covered in Maryland Divorce cases?
In Maryland divorce cases there are two (2) types of property: personal property and real property. Real property is usually a home and/or timeshare. Personal property will cover everything else owned by the parties; to include but not necessarily limited to, automobiles, jewelry, furniture, bank accounts and the like. As part of determining how property will be shared, the court will look at the evidence and determine debts that are owed by the parties to try and reach an equitable conclusion.
Will the court determine alimony and retirement in a Maryland Divorce case?
Yes. The Court will determine (if requested by either party) if alimony should be awarded and if so, how much and for how long. The court will also determine if either party has retirement in a Maryland divorce case. If so, the court will decide if any portion of the retirement is marital, and if so how the retirement should be shared equitably.
Will the court consider Attorney’s fees in a Maryland divorce case?
Yes. The court will make a determination on attorney’s fees if fees are requested by the parties in a Maryland divorce case. The court will first determine if the fees are reasonable and if reasonable the amount that should be paid, if any.
Can the Court award other money aside from alimony in Maryland divorce case?
Yes. There are times when the Court will decide that one spouse should pay to the other a sum of money (either lump sum or over a period of time) to make the property distribution equitable. This award could be ordered as part of the Judgment for divorce, and is ordered separately from child support, retirement, property distribution and/or alimony in a Maryland divorce case. This is called a monetary award.
For more information on Divorces in Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (800) 400-2350 today.