Gaithersburg, MD Divorce Attorney

Baltimore Crimianl Defense Lawyers

Divorce is never easy. When your marriage has fallen apart, you will likely experience a host of various emotions. However, despite how you feel, divorce is a legal process that can have long-lasting ramifications unless you have proper legal representation.
Our Gaithersburg, MD divorce attorney has assisted people going through this difficult time for over twenty years. In addition to ending a relationship, a divorce proceeding will force you to divide the property you accumulated over your marriage. The experienced lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras will fight to protect your rights if you are involved in a divorce. Call (410) 431-0911 to schedule a free consultation.

Grounds for Divorce in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage. Under Maryland law, a person seeking a divorce must provide specific grounds, or reasons, for the divorce to proceed. Accusations of conduct are not sufficient.
There are two types of divorce available to couples in Gaithersburg: limited and absolute. Our Gaithersburg divorce attorney will advise you on which type might be appropriate given your circumstances.

Limited Divorce

Think of a limited divorce as a legal separation. The parties live apart but are not eligible to remarry. Often, this type of divorce precedes an absolute divorce.
People seeking a limited divorce must prove that their spouse’s conduct was cruel or abusive, either towards them or a minor child in the household. Additional grounds include voluntary desertion or mutual separation.

Absolute Divorce

An absolute divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage that most people think of when they think of divorce. After an absolute divorce, the parties are free to move forward with their lives and remarry in the future if they desire.
The grounds for an absolute divorce are similar but different. First, you can seek divorce on the grounds of adultery. It is important to note here that the accusing party does not have to demonstrate or prove sexual conduct – just that their spouse had the opportunity and predisposition to engage in an extramarital affair.
Another ground that both types of divorce share is cruel or abusive behavior towards you or a minor child.
Voluntary desertion is similar to a limited divorce; however, it must last at least one year without any break in the separation.
If your spouse was committed to a mental institution or similar facility, you are entitled to seek an absolute divorce if two physicians testify that your spouse’s condition is incurable and they were confined for at least two years.
Additionally, if your spouse was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and is serving a sentence of at least three years, you are entitled to an absolute divorce. However, there is another time requirement. Your spouse must have served at least twelve months of their sentence before filing for divorce. In situations where one spouse must wait to file for an absolute divorce, they file for a limited one until the appropriate period has passed.

Mutual Consent Divorce

Luckily, there is a provision under Maryland law for couples to file for an absolute divorce based on mutual and irreconcilable differences. However, this option is only available under limited circumstances.
First, the couple must not have any minor children. Adult children do not impede a mutual consent divorce.
Mutal consent also implies that the parties agree on all aspects of the divorce. Therefore, the divorcing couple must submit a written settlement agreement that resolves any potential issues, such as property division and spousal support, to the court. Both parties will have to attend a divorce hearing at court despite the written agreement.

Spousal Support in a Gaithersburg Divorce

Whether alimony will be awarded to you or your spouse will depend on the facts of your specific case. A Gaithersburg court will consider a set of factors in determining spousal support.
Alimony is categorized into three different groups in Maryland – pendente lite, statutory, and indefinite.
Pendente lite alimony is awarded only for the duration of the divorce proceedings. A dependent spouse will be granted spousal support until the final divorce order is entered in the court.
Alimony in Maryland is meant to be rehabilitative. This means that spousal support is temporary. The purpose of alimony is to allow a dependent spouse the time and financial means to become self-supportive. Statutory alimony is awarded for a specific period and not considered to be a permanent burden or benefit.
In some rare situations, a Maryland court will award a dependent spouse indefinite alimony. A court might award indefinite alimony based on the age, medical condition, or disability of the dependent spouse. To receive indefinite alimony, a court will have to find that you are not capable of making reasonable progress towards becoming self-supportive or that, even if you can make reasonable progress, the disparity between your standard of living and that of your spouse is unconscionably disparate.
No matter what type of alimony is awarded by the court, it is subject to modification. If the situation has changed, such as a remarriage, a court could modify, extend, or end spousal support. However, one of the parties will have to petition the court to modify the alimony award and present evidence to establish the change in circumstances. Our Gaithersburg divorce attorney can assist you with any issues concerning alimony.

Property Division in a Gaithersburg, MD Divorce

To understand property division in a divorce, you must understand the difference between marital property and separate property. Typically, marital property refers to all the property you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage, usually starting with the wedding presents you receive after your ceremony.
Marital property includes things like furniture, cars, retirement accounts, life insurance, and real estate. Simply speaking, marital property belongs to the marriage and not to either individual. For legal purposes, the title of ownership does not usually matter. For example, if a car was purchased and titled under the husband’s name, it would still be considered marital property if purchased during the marriage.
Separate property refers to property owned by either spouse before the marriage. This could include vehicles, personal property, and real estate. This also will include any inheritances a spouse might receive during the marriage and certain gifts.
Maryland is an equitable distribution state. When you divorce, you will be required to divide the marital property equally. It is important to note that equitable does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of property. Equitable assumes an appropriate division of property based on the circumstances of your case.

Call Our Gaithersburg, MD Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you are considering filing for a divorce or have been served a divorce complaint by your spouse, contact our Gaithersburg, MD divorce attorney. The experienced Maryland family lawyers and staff at Rice, Murtha & Psoras provide professional, compassionate, and aggressive representation for those struggling through a marriage breakup. Call (410) 431-0911 to schedule a free appointment.