Whether you are involved in an amicable, no-fault divorce or a bitter court battle in Maryland, you will need to follow an established process. Understanding each step can help you save time, money and perhaps even some of the anxiety related to the divorce.
The beginning of the divorce process
The divorce process begins when a person files. Even if the spouses agree on the divorce and the reason for it, one of them must petition the court to end the marriage. The beginning of the process includes several steps, such as:
• Filing a petition to terminate the marriage
• Including information such as the legal reason for the divorce and proof that either spouse can meet the residence requirement to file in that county and state
• A petition for temporary orders of child custody and child and spousal support
• Proof that you provided your spouse with copies of all the paperwork filed with the petition, also known as proof of service
Resolving the issues
Once the other spouse has been notified of the petition, they have a certain amount of time to answer it or risk receiving a default judgment against them. After they answer the petition, the spouses can get to work resolving the division of assets, parenting time and financial support. This can be done amicably and collaboratively, by using a mediator, for example, or through a costly and complicated trial.
Finalizing the process
Once an agreement has been reached, or the judge issues a divorce order, the process is finalized. This is called an order of dissolution and includes details about the division of assets, financial support, custody schedule and the parenting plan.
Going through all the steps of the divorce can take time, averaging a year from start to finish. However, following each step carefully can help you avoid mistakes that might become costly both in time and money.