The Divorce Attorneys You Want on Your Side
Ending your marriage might be the right decision, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. At Z Family Law, we know the stressors and challenges divorce brings, from dividing the assets to protecting your children, and even redefining your sense of self. We also know that divorce isn’t the end of your story — it’s the beginning of a new chapter. Our mission is to help you write it.
Guided by the knowledge that every case is unique, our accomplished team of divorce attorneys is here to create a tailored strategy for you rooted in high-quality representation. Together, we’ll help you navigate any roadblocks in your path to create the happily ever after you've been looking for.
Absolute vs. Limited Divorce
In Maryland, there are two types of divorce: absolute and limited, distinguished by the grounds associated with each as well as certain accompanying legal and financial implications. A limited divorce is what you might think of when picturing a legal separation, meaning the marriage is still legally valid, the two parties may not remarry (until an absolute divorce is granted), and property is not divided by the courts or in accord with a pre or postnuptial agreement. On the other hand, an absolute divorce is entirely unequivocal. When a divorce is absolute, the marriage has officially ended, child support and custody are formalized, and assets are divided.
Grounds for Divorce
One of the more complicated aspects of divorce is choosing the grounds under which you wish to file. Ambiguity around how to decide is common, as is being served with papers that list an incorrect ground. In these types of cases, a no-fault divorce may be the best way to proceed, given that the couple has refrained from cohabitating for at least one year without interruption. Keep in mind that it is possible to file for an uncontested divorce under no-fault grounds, in which case the 12-month separation requirement would be waived, as long as you and your spouse have resolved all issues arising out of your marriage, a formal separation agreement has been signed, and neither party has filed to set it aside.
If no-fault divorce isn’t on the table, the following grounds could apply:
Cruelty/excessively vicious conduct: Physical, sexual, mental, or emotional abuse — inflicted on either a spouse or a minor child of the complaining spouse — is grounds for divorce. Sometimes, even a single act of cruelty can be grounds if severe physical harm is inflicted or threatened.
Desertion: Desertion is the correct grounds for couples who occupy separate living situations for a full year as the result of one spouse’s actions. In this type of case, the other spouse has no say in the estrangement, and there’s no hope for reconciliation.
Separation: By contrast, a separation is mutually agreed upon but also lasts at least a year without leading to an anticipated or actual reconciliation.
Adultery: In Maryland, having a sexual relationship with anyone aside from one’s spouse is considered valid grounds for an absolute divorce.
Criminal conviction: Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor (if the sentence is at least three years long and the person has already served one year) may be grounds for absolute divorce.
Insanity: In cases where one spouse has been confined to a facility for at least three years to address mental health issues, the remaining spouse may file for an absolute divorce.
Finding the Right Divorce Attorney for You
As you navigate this challenging time, a trusted legal team who can help you make rational, well-guided decisions is essential. After all, when it comes to writing your new happily ever after, the importance of finding strategic and compassionate counsel focused solely on family law cannot be understated. By combining our vast legal experience, our tenured team can design a tailored strategy to help you take back your power and build the new beginning you deserve.