Understanding Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
Sometimes, marriages just don’t work out — and neither spouse is at fault. In cases like this, there’s a chance that your marriage can be dissolved faster and more cost-effectively under Maryland’s uncontested divorce law if you qualify for the state’s streamlined program.
Ultimately, a client’s goal when filing for uncontested divorce is to move on with their life as quickly and easily as possible. To get there, hiring a skilled team of attorneys who understand the intricacies of uncontested divorce law is paramount. At Z Family Law, we’ll advise you on the benefits and risks of pursuing an uncontested divorce — from legal implications to financial factors and practical concerns.
Our goal? To arm you with the knowledge and support you’ll need to start the next phase of your life without looking back.
What is Uncontested Divorce?
A type of divorce rooted in mutual consent, meaning the parties have reached agreement on all the issues relevant to their case, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
Uncontested divorces are typically less expensive and more efficient. Still, couples should never sacrifice financial security in favor of speed. Even in uncontested cases, we suggest that every couple review their marital settlement agreement in-depth with experienced legal counsel. Spouses should also be aware that in Maryland:
- The property is split equitably, not equally, meaning one spouse may be entitled to more than 50%.
- Marital property can include the current value of future benefits, such as stock benefits and pensions.
- One spouse may be awarded alimony.
The History of Uncontested Divorce
In the past, Maryland couples seeking a divorce were required to wait until a year after they separated or prove certain grounds when filing. As of fall 2023, however, couples in Maryland no longer need to cite fault-based grounds for divorce, meaning they can file on the basis of a 6-month separation, irreconcilable differences, or mutual consent. These updates make it possible to get divorced without a protracted wait or demonstrating that one spouse is at fault. So, even if you don't qualify for an uncontested divorce on the basis of mutual consent, you may have other options for resolving your divorce more quickly and easily than before.
Do I Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce?
To have your request for an uncontested divorce granted, you’ll need to show the court that:
- You’ve both signed a written settlement agreement that resolves property and alimony issues.
- Both spouses have signed an agreement that covers child custody, access or parenting time, and child support (when children are involved).
- Neither spouse has filed to set aside the agreement between the time the settlement agreement was signed and the date of your divorce hearing.
While these qualifications may seem straightforward, the truth is that the uncontested divorce process simply shifts the burden of resolving your marital issues from the court onto you. Since uncontested divorce removes the need for a judge to hear your case and decide on matters for you, it requires both parties to reach an agreement on everything from pension plans to pets and land. Reaching an agreement can be difficult — especially because you want to ensure you’re protecting your legal rights along the way. To cope with the added responsibility an uncontested divorce brings and walk away with the best possible settlement, you’ll need a lawyer with valuable experience handling these types of mutual consent cases.
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.