The Divorce Attorneys You Want on Your Side
Ending your marriage might be the right decision, but that doesn’t mean that the process of ending your marriage is an easy one. At Z Family Law, our family lawyers know the stressors and challenges divorce brings, from disagreements in dividing marital assets to negotiating the custody of your children to redefining your sense of self. At Z Family Law, we believe that a divorce case 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 divorce case is unique, our accomplished team of divorce attorneys is here to create a tailored strategy for you rooted in high-quality representation. Through a professional attorney-client relationship, we’ll help you navigate any roadblocks in your path to create the happily ever after you are looking for in the midst of the dissolution of your marriage.
Absolute vs. Limited Divorce
In Maryland, there are two types of divorce cases: absolute and limited. They're 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 spouses may not remarry (until an absolute divorce is granted), and the division of property is not addressed by the court system or in accord with a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. On the other hand, an absolute divorce is entirely unequivocal. When spouses take the course of action to proceed with an absolute divorce, the legal marriage has officially ended, child support and child custody are formalized, and the division of property is completed. In both cases, you'll want an experienced and reliable Rockville divorce lawyer on your side, so be sure to set up an initial case assessment to get started.
Grounds for Divorce
One of the more complicated aspects of divorce cases 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 some cases, a no-fault divorce may be the best way to proceed, given that a couple has refrained from cohabitating for at least one year without interruption. Keep in mind that it's 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 mutual consent, have resolved any marital issues, signed a legal separation agreement, and neither party has filed to set it aside.
Getting a Limited Divorce Without Mutual Consent
In most cases, couples come to an agreement on all issues related to a limited divorce. However, in some cases, one spouse may be unwilling to cooperate. In these situations, couples may need to pursue a limited divorce without mutual consent with the help of a divorce attorney.
When it comes to getting a limited divorce without mutual consent, the process begins with filing a petition for separation. This can be done in the county where either you or your spouse currently resides. With the petition, you must include a number of requested documents, including a completed financial affidavit, which will provide the court with information about each spouse’s income, assets, and liabilities. Once the petition is filed, it's typically served to the other spouse. This is done to make sure the other spouse is aware of the petition and has the opportunity to respond if they choose to. If the other spouse does respond to the petition, a hearing will be set at the courthouse. At the hearing, both spouses have the opportunity to present their case and the court will decide on the terms of the divorce. A Rockville divorce lawyer from our team can help you navigate the legal process for this type of divorce case.
If a 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 for a divorce case if severe physical harm is inflicted or threatened and/or a protective order is put in place.
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 in the state of Maryland.
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 Maryland divorce lawyer with years of experience in divorce negotiations and divorce cases is essential to help you make rational, well-guided decisions. After all, when it comes to writing your new happily ever after, the importance of finding strategic and compassionate legal counsel from a divorce law firm focused solely on family law cannot be understated. By combining our vast legal experience, our tenured team of divorce attorneys can design a tailored strategy to help you take back your power, secure your financial future, and protect your children’s best interests. Visit one of our offices today for an initial case assessment to learn more about your legal rights when it comes to getting a divorce as a Maryland resident.