Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
Spouses willing to terminate their marriage in Maryland can proceed with an uncontested or a contested divorce.
- An uncontested divorce is a simpler option for spouses who have reached an agreement regarding divorce-related issues like marital property division, child custody, Maryland child support, visitation, debt allocations, etc., before bringing the case to the court. An amicable settlement is always a cheaper option as it doesn’t require any legal help.
- In a contested divorce, the spouses typically need help from legal firms or mediation to settle all their disputes. However, such an option tends to be more expensive and time-consuming.
Tip: Proceeding with an uncontested divorce, spouses manage to keep their divorce peaceful, affordable, and rather fast as they don’t have to pay for an expensive lawyer’s services.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
The paperwork stage may become a challenge for those spouses with no legal training. However, today divorcing spouses can use fast online divorce services, such as DivorceOnline, which is an excellent alternative to hiring an expensive lawyer due to its quality and reasonable price.
With DivorceOnline, spouses can handle their divorce papers from the comfort of their own home for as little as $139. Our top-notch service helps to complete divorce paperwork online in 2 business days. We also provide clients with an easy-to-follow filing guide to simplify the overall filing procedure.
Filing for divorce has never been easier! DivorceOnline is here to help soon-to-be-ex spouses select and complete the correct divorce forms. With our online divorce service, couples can immediately initiate their uncontested divorce filing process.
Note: Please, keep in mind that the spouses proceeding with a contested divorce typically need legal help resolving their divorce-related issues. Thus, do not hesitate to contact an attorney if you need any legal assistance, as DivorceOnline doesn’t provide legal advice.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Maryland
Getting a divorce, residents of Maryland must follow several consecutive steps.
According to Maryland law, the spouses have to meet the residency requirements. To initiate the divorce filing, either of the spouses is required to be a resident of the state for no less than six months.
The plaintiff can file divorce documents in the Maryland county where either of the spouses resides.
No-fault grounds for a divorce in Maryland are mutual consent and separation for 12 months. These are the grounds for an absolute divorce. In the latter case, the spouses have to live separate and apart for 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce. And in case of mutual consent, the spouses may be granted a divorce without any waiting period.
The fault grounds for a divorce in Maryland include:
- Conviction of certain crimes,
- Cruelty, and
- Excessively vicious conduct.
Typically soon-to-be-ex spouses proceeding with a fault-based ground face a longer and more expensive divorce process as they have to prove the other spouse’s fault to the court and may need a divorce attorney.
Fault-based grounds matter the most when it comes to alimony and custody. Thus, the spouses should consider the consequences of the divorce grounds.
To initiate the divorce process in Maryland, the plaintiff must submit Maryland divorce paperwork with the county's court where either spouse resides.
Divorce Papers in Maryland
Maryland divorce paperwork varies depending on each particular divorce case.
The list of basic divorce forms in Maryland includes:
- a Complaint for Absolute Divorce (Form CC-DR-020), and
- a Civil Domestic Information Report (CC-DCM-001).
Other forms depend on what the petitioner is requesting and may include Financial Statement, Parenting Plan, Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, etc.
One of the crucial documents is the Marital Settlement Agreement, which allows spouses to save time and money in litigation as it outlines the agreement regarding their divorce-related issues.
According to Maryland law, the plaintiff must pay a mandatory filing fee of about $165. However, the fee may vary depending on the county where the spouses file for a divorce.
Plaintiffs unable to pay the filing fee may consider requesting the court to waive them. To do that, they will have to submit a Fee Waiver to the court and prove that they can’t afford to pay the fee.
In an absolute divorce based on mutual consent, there is no waiting period for a divorce in Maryland. However, when it comes to a 12-month separation, the spouses will have to live separate and apart for 12 months before their divorce is finalized.
As the divorce documents are filed, the plaintiff must serve the defendant with copies of their divorce papers. In Maryland, it can be done by a private process serving company or by an adult over the age of 18 not involved in the case.
After the defendant has been served, the court may schedule a hearing after reviewing the spouses’ paperwork. At least one spouse must attend the hearing and bring a copy of their marriage certificate and proof of residency.
Getting a Divorce With Children
f there are minor children involved in the marriage, several issues must be resolved, such as child custody, child support, and visitation.
The court in Maryland can grant divorcing parents either joint or sole custody when determining legal and physical custody. Divorcing spouses may consider joint custody if they can show the court that they’re willing to cooperate, providing a healthy and stable environment for their child. The decision over custody is made considering the best interest of the child.
The best interest of the child in Maryland child custody cases includes the following factors being considered:
- Fitness of parents;
- Character and reputation of parties;
- The desire of parents and agreements between parties;
- Potential of maintaining natural family relations;
- Preference of the child;
- Material opportunities affecting the future life of the child;
- Age, health, and sex of the child;
- Residences of the parents and opportunities for visitation, or geographic proximity of parental homes;
- Length of child’s separation from the parent; and
- Any history of prior voluntary abandonment or surrender.
When it comes to child support in Maryland, Maryland law requires both parents to support their children. The amount of support is assigned according to the Income Shares Model based on each parent's income. This means that the court estimates the amount of money invested in the child while living in the same household and then divides this amount between the parents based on their earnings.
To calculate the support obligation, parents should use Maryland Child support guidelines. They will have to input the combined incomes and the number of children they have together. However, the guidelines aren’t very simple. The support amount can also be influenced by custody and visitation arrangements, alimony, and child support orders from a spouse's previous relationships.
The Maryland Courts Family Law website provides parents willing to handle their child support case themselves with necessary forms and instructions. Parents can also use Maryland’s Department of Human Services child support calculator. Yet, they should keep in mind that this way, they won’t be able to alter the calculation considering adjustments for parenting time or any other circumstances.
Filing for Divorce in Maryland Without a Lawyer
The spouses may consider handling their divorce without a lawyer to reduce the overall divorce cost. It is a go-to option for those couples proceeding with an uncontested divorce as they already have all their divorce-related issues settled and outlined in a Marital Settlement Agreement.
Thus, if the spouses manage to agree on every issue amicably, they can keep their divorce process simple and fast. Still, if soon-to-be-ex couples face any complications to their case or need help sorting out their divorce-related issues, they may need legal assistance, and it may be wise to consider hiring an attorney or mediation services.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Maryland
- Residents of Maryland willing to save their time and money in a divorce process may consider a DIY divorce. Typically, the spouses should proceed with an uncontested divorce and handle their divorce without expensive lawyers.
- When going through a DIY divorce, soon-to-be-ex couples can face problems dealing with divorce paperwork preparation. In such cases, they can use the online divorce service DivorceOnline, which helps spouses sort out and generate the correct divorce forms to be filed to the court. The platform provides couples with an easy-to-follow filing guide as well.
- All in all, DIY divorce is much more affordable and simple.
Frequently Asked Questions:
An uncontested divorce in Maryland takes about two or three months, while a contested divorce case may take up to eighteen months. The length of divorce case litigation depends on complications, and the process may take significantly more time if there are minor children involved in a marriage.
Typically, in an uncontested divorce, divorcing spouses don’t have to pay more than a filing fee, which is about $165 in Maryland.
There is no free divorce in Maryland, yet there are several options for couples willing to reduce the overall divorce cost.
- A DIY divorce, where spouses handle their divorce without a lawyer, is the cheapest option as they don’t have to pay expensive attorney’s fees.
- The plaintiff may request the court to waive the filing fee if they can’t afford to pay it by submitting a Fee Waiver form.
- If any paperwork preparation problems arise, the spouses can use DivorceOnline to assist them with their divorce forms instead of a costly attorney.
To file for a divorce in Maryland, the petitioner has to file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce and a Civil Domestic Information Report. However, these are just the basic forms needed to initiate the case. Depending on the attendant circumstances and the complexity of the case, other forms may be required.
To check the relevant forms required, the spouses should contact the court’s clerk or use the online divorce service DivorceOnine.