Emotions run high during a divorce, even when it is pursued amicably between partners. To ensure that all legalities are properly considered and to craft compelling arguments that assist in achieving an outcome that is ideal for your situation, rely on an experienced divorce attorney.
Knowing what information to provide and what options are available can provide a great headstart to successfully navigating a divorce. To narrow it down, if you are a resident of Columbia, Maryland, or the surrounding areas, here is an overview of some of the main questions you should ask your divorce attorney.
What Is Absolute Divorce?
Absolute divorce is the complete termination of a marriage. It separates the couple on all levels and involves dividing property and assets, determining alimony, pursuing a child custody agreement, and severing legal ties. The former couple are legally divorced; they may elect to change their names and remarry at any time.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
Residents in Columbia, MD, are subject to Maryland’s new law, passed in October of 2023, that eliminates the option of limited divorce. This change amends the reasons to file for absolute divorce, limiting the qualifying circumstances to three options: a separation of six months or more, unsalvageable differences, or mutual consent to divorce.
How Do You File for Divorce?
Divorce paperwork can be initiated with a circuit court in Maryland if at least one spouse has residency. If the reasons for divorce happened outside of Maryland, one spouse must be a Maryland resident for six months before filing in Maryland. Filing for divorce requires a fee, but it may be waived based on income.
Is Annulment an Option?
A couple is only eligible for annulment if the marriage is invalid. A void marriage can arise due to incest or bigamy, in which the spouse is still involved in a previous valid marriage.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support paid to a former spouse during or after divorce. Pendant lite alimony is short-term support terminating after the final divorce decree. Rehabilitative alimony is a payment schedule with a limited timeframe to enable the former spouse to become self-sufficient. Indefinite payment plans last until the other party dies or remarries.
Who Pays Alimony?
The court will decide who pays alimony to whom. This decision will consider the parties’ ages, financial situations, the result of the marital property division, overall health, the length of the marriage, and the reason for filing.
What Happens to the Children?
A divorce court will address child custody. A judge will consider many factors affecting the welfare of the child, including each parent’s income, living situation, and the custody preferences of all parties, including the child. A parent may need to pay child support depending on how the custody arrangement is decided.
What Is Marital and Non-Marital Property?
Non-marital property comprises assets obtained before the marriage, gifts to only one spouse, or mutually agreed items. Marital property is acquired after the marriage and is considered shared between the two parties.
How Is Property Separated?
If the former couple cannot agree on the division of property, a court will divide the assets. Elements such as each party’s financial situation, who has received primary custody, and which items are necessary to maintain each individual’s standard of living will be considered when making this determination.
What Is the Cost of Divorce?
The direct costs of a divorce will depend on several factors, including the jurisdiction in which the case will be filed if an attorney is retained for representation, if either party is indigent, or if the case requires outside resources such as private investigators.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce?
An amicable, mutually agreed-upon divorce can conclude within a few months. However, discussions or disputes of property, alimony, and child custody can extend the process to an average of one to two years.
Get a Divorce Attorney with SIEGELLAW to Help You Navigate the Process
Although Maryland permits residents to pursue divorce independently without legal assistance, this is generally considered unwise as the rules and requirements of divorce can be complicated. Attorneys represent clients in court and have experience composing arguments to secure assets, custody, and other benefits that may be more difficult to achieve with self-representation.
Statistics indicate that divorce results are, on average, more beneficial for parties who retain attorneys than those who do not. If you are considering a divorce in Columbia, Maryland, or the surrounding areas, be sure to work with a legal team that can support your efforts.