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What is an Uncontested Divorce in Maryland?

Couple is divorced who handed their engagement ring to the divorce documents

The average American marriage lasts around 8 years and divorce rates fluctuate between 40 and 50%. Divorce can become a long and expensive process with the average proceedings costing between $4,000 and $12,000. This expense can increase based upon extraneous legal proceedings such as child custody arrangements or item discovery.

Because of this, the process of going through a divorce can be emotionally draining. But in certain circumstances, a divorce may be uncontested. The differences between the two mean that divorce may be either tedious and stressful or quick and amicable.

This article aims to clarify the following:

  • What is Uncontested Divorce?
  • The Divorce Process
  • Uncontested Divorce in Maryland

Contested divorce involves legal wrangling and meetings to divide assets while uncontested divorce allows for an amicable and fair arrangement. The divorce process differs from case to case and must meet certain requirements. Maryland is not a 50/50 state and holds specific laws about divorce.

If you need a DC divorce lawyer, The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl can help.

What is Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce lawyer can help you concerning the legal matters involved. Uncontested divorce in Maryland is possible when both parties agree upon asset division among themselves without the intervention of the courts. This can help reduce the stress associated with going through a divorce and keep costs down.

For an uncontested divorce to be completed, both parties must agree on many aspects of the divorce settlement. This includes child custody, asset distribution, and legal fee division. If an amicable conclusion is reached then an uncontested divorce lawyer will act on your behalf.

Should any party not agree to these terms then a contested divorce will proceed. A contested divorce means that a judge will hear the case and decide what happens.

The Divorce Process

Depending on the type of divorce, the processes are different. The uncontested divorce process is quick and easy. A contested divorce can be arduous, stressful, and expensive. This is because your legal team needs to prepare the necessary legal paperwork, carry out item discovery of assets, and proceed with legal motions.

An uncontested divorce doesn’t need much of the complex litigation involved in a contested proceeding. Because of this, the process is much simpler and usually involves an uncontested divorce lawyer filing an agreement that has been made between both parties. The legal expense for this varies and could rise should there be the need for a mediator. It will, however, be much lower than a contested divorce proceeding.

Uncontested Divorce in Maryland

Each state has its laws and regulations when it comes to a contested and uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorce in Maryland requires both parties to agree on all terms presented in an agreement. Maryland law requires that there be sufficient grounds for either process to take place. If you fail to provide reasonable grounds then you can incur legal penalties.

Grounds for divorce in Maryland include:

  • Adultery: sexual relations with another person.
  • Insanity: legally declared insane by way of mental illness.
  • Separation: for one year or longer.
  • Criminal conviction: felony or misdemeanor.
  • Cruelty: sexual, physical, or mental abuse.

Residency requirements must also be met. The 2018 Maryland Code Family Law Title 7 – Divorce § 7-101 states that spouses must have lived in Maryland for 6 months of the tax year before filing for divorce. Also, couples must separate for 12 months before filing unless the fault grounds listed above can be proven.

If you need a DC divorce lawyer then don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl.

Conclusion

There are 2 types of divorce, contested and uncontested. In comparison to a contested divorce, the uncontested divorce process alleviates some of the stress and financial burden. This is because both parties can agree on legal issues without the need for a judge to intervene.

The divorce process usually requires complex legal paperwork, litigation and motions but if an uncontested divorce agreement can be reached there is no need for these. Instead, attorneys can file the necessary paperwork to be signed by a judge.

Each state has its divorce laws. Maryland in particular requires that reasonable grounds for divorce be proven lest a divorce waiting period be adhered to. Without fault grounds such as adultery, abuse, or criminal acts, spouses must have been residents of Maryland for at least 6 months and wait 12 months before filing for divorce.

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