Divorce, Alimony, Division of Assets and Domestic Violence
Divorce - A married person is required to file a Complaint for Divorce in order to end officially end their marital relationship. As with any civil claim, the Party requesting the Court to grant them relief must state the basis or grounds for the Court to grant that request. There are several different grounds for divorce which include but are not limited to adultery, imprisonment, desertion, cruelty, agreed separation, etc. If there are not children born of the relationship and if all asset/property issues are resolved by written agreement, then the Parties can seek an expedited divorce. If the Parties have children born of that relationship, then the Court must make Custody, Support and Visitation determinations before granting a divorce unless the Parties can arrive at an amicable resolution of these issues.
Spousal Support (Alimony) - In a marriage relationship where one (1) spouse has primarily been a stay at home Parent and/or has wage income far below the other Parent, that Parent may request that the higher paid spouse pay monthly financial support to the other for a defined period of time or indefinitely. Factors to be considered include but are not limited to length of marital relationship, disparity of income, etc.
Domestic Violence Petitions - Any person in a family or domestic relationship who is subject to physical violence (actual or threatened), has the right to contact the Police and file a criminal and/or a civil action to protect themselves from that violence. In the Civil Petition for a Domestic Violence Order, a person can ask that the other Party not contact them and can award temporary Child Custody and Family Financial Support. This type of action is limited and is only expected to be used for the short term in the District or Circuit Courts in Maryland. Long term Family Law disputes must eventually be resolved in the Circuit Court.
Agreements that are signed by the Parties can be temporary or Final. They can be a full resolution of all issues or a partial resolution. As with any family law dispute, an amicable resolution is usually a preferred way to resolve all issues. There is less anxiety and legal cost as litigation takes a lot of time and effort. But it takes two (2) agreeable Parents to make an amicable solution possible. Most Agreements are eventually filed in Court and will become as binding and enforceable as a Court Order. If an amicable resolution cannot be reached by the Parties, the only other way to resolve the dispute will be with a contested hearing. At such a hearing, both Parties will be able to present testimony, witnesses and documentary evidence in order to convince the Judge that it should decide in their favor. After all evidence has been presented, the Court will decide all presented issues including Custody and Support that it believes is in the best interest of the Parties and children involved.
Asset, Real and Personal Property Division - In a Divorce proceeding, the Parties will need to equitably divide their marital assets which include bank accounts, debts, real property such as homes and personal property accumulated during the marriage or the Court will eventually decide those issues at a contested hearing.