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How Do I Start My Divorce in Maryland?

Our Annapolis Divorce Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Will Give You a Fresh Start

If you find yourself navigating the marriage dissolution process in Maryland, a clear understanding of the path ahead is crucial for a smoother journey. The process of filing for divorce often feels daunting. Let us steer through the essentials, guiding you step by step on initiating your divorce proceedings in Maryland.

Understanding Maryland’s Divorce Requirements

Maryland law dictates that specific criteria must be met to file for divorce. Grounds for divorce in Maryland are bifurcated into “no-fault” and “fault-based” grounds. For no-fault divorces, the spouses must be separated for a continuous period of 12 months without cohabitation. On the other hand, fault-based divorces can be granted on grounds.

Filing for Divorce: The Initial Steps

  • Determine eligibility: Confirm whether you meet Maryland’s residency requirement. If the reason for your divorce occurred within Maryland’s borders, then you only need to live in Maryland when you file. If, however, the reason for your divorce occurred outside Maryland, you or your spouse must have lived in Maryland for at least six months before filing.
  • Choose the correct court: File your divorce papers in the county where you or your spouse resides.
  • Prepare the necessary documents: You will need to prepare a Petition for Dissolution, Financial Affidavit, and other relevant forms, which require detailed information about you, your spouse, your children, income, assets, and the reason for divorce.
  • Serve your spouse: Once filed, legally serve your spouse with the divorce papers, as per Maryland’s laws

Information You May Need

There is information you will need to compile:

  • Personal identification: Your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, and proof of residency are non-negotiable; they lay the groundwork for who you are in the legal arena.
  • Marriage documentation: Have your original marriage certificate in hand. It is the cornerstone document that signifies the union you are seeking to dissolve.
  • Financial records: Expenses, incomes, bank statements, debts, and assets tell a tale. The complete financial disclosure shapes equitable division and sets the stage for alimony discussions. Leave no stone unturned.
  • Property inventory: Real estate, personal property, and everything. If you own it, list it. If you value it, appraise it.
  • Tax returns: Recent tax returns are windows into your economic life. They reveal more than earnings; they hint at stability and trends. Gather at least three years’ worth.
  • Children’s information: Names, birthdates, school details, and childcare records inform custody and support considerations.
  • Existing agreements: Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, separation contracts, previous court orders—if they exist, they hold weight. They have set precedents that matter.

Why a Divorce Lawyer Might Be a Good Idea?

While it is possible to file for divorce without an attorney, having a seasoned lawyer on your side cannot be overemphasized. A divorce attorney offers critical guidance:

  • Protection of rights: An attorney ensures all your rights are protected and interests are represented, especially regarding asset division, alimony, and child custody arrangements.
  • Complexities managed: They navigate the intricate legal procedures and paperwork, ensuring no detail is overlooked.
  • Negotiation and advocacy: Lawyers serve as staunch negotiators and advocates, particularly valuable if the divorce is contested or if substantial assets or children are involved.
  • Legal guidance: They provide strategic advice tailored to your unique situation, aiming for the most favorable outcome.

Our Annapolis Divorce Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Will Give You a Fresh Start

The road to starting a divorce in Maryland is paved with complex legal requirements. It is paramount to tread this path with a reliable guide. Oliveri & Larsen stands ready to support you with experience and empathy. Speak with our Annapolis divorce lawyers today. Contact us online or call us at 410-295-3000 to schedule your consultation. Located in Annapolis, Maryland, we serve clients in Ocean City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Calvert County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, St. Mary’s County, Worcester County, Kent County, and the upper and lower Eastern Shores of Maryland.

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