Divorce can be a confusing and complex process. If this is your first time going through the divorce process in Maryland, you are likely to have many questions.
Along with the requirements and paperwork, you will probably find yourself encountering unfamiliar terms and wonder what they mean in terms of your divorce. For example, you may be asked if your divorce is a contested or uncontested divorce.
In Maryland, an uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all issues that must be resolved to legally end your marriage. Some of these issues include property division, alimony and child custody.
Alternatively, a contested divorce is when there is at least one issue that you do not agree on. This means you will need to go to a trial and have a judge decide the issue.
Requirements that apply to any divorce
Even if you believe you have an uncontested divorce, you must meet the standard divorce requirements to complete your divorce. These include living separate and apart for at least six months and agreeing that your marriage is over. The legal term for this is irreconcilable differences.
Most couples do not start the divorce process already agreeing on every issue. You might not even know what all the issues are when the process begins.
There are typically some disagreements at the start of a divorce, but many couples manage to work them out as the divorce process progresses. Some couples even come to an agreement on all issues on the day of trial.
An uncontested divorce might still require some outside help
Negotiating agreements is usually best done with help and guidance. You and your spouse could choose to use mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution to help you reach an agreement.
Your agreement is memorialized in a signed, written marital settlement agreement. Before you sign the agreement and finalize your divorce, it is best to have it professionally reviewed to make sure your rights are protected.