Maryland Divorce Procedures

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If an absolute divorce (i.e. the complete legal dissolution of marriage after which the marital status no longer exists. When people think of divorce, this is the type of divorce most people think of. An alternative to absolute divorce is the limited divorce which means the termination of the right to live together) is being attempted, then, there is a need of a corroborative witness at the hearing. The role of such a witness is to support what the divorcing partner says and testify this partner. The testimony of the witness depends on what the witness has seen or heard.

Maryland Divorce Procedure prior to Service

  • The Complaint for Absolute Divorce must be completed and filed
  • There is a provision to append the following documents to the Complaint
    • Financial Statement for alimony or child support
    • Property Settlement Agreement, if one exists
  • Ensure that there are 2 copies of every form
  • Submit one of these copies to the court clerk
  • If the divorcing partner desires to request a Waiver of prepayment of fees, then it is binding to complete a Motion for Waiver of Prepayment of Fees as well as the Financial Statement
  • The Circuit Court in the county wherein the divorcing partner resides is the venue for filing the forms
  • 5 days of the filing of the above mentioned documents, the divorcing partner may call the court clerk to understand if the Motion for Waiver is granted
  • If the case is such that the motion has been granted, then the divorcing partner must file the granted motion as well as other documents
  • Sometimes the court might deny the motion and hence the divorcing partner has to disburse the filing fee
  • The next phase is of service. If the service is not done correctly, then the court reserves the right to dismiss the case
  • The original copy of the Summons along with 1 copy of all the forms that have been filed in the court are combined to create a Service Package. Some of these forms are financial statement, complaint, DCI report, Summons etc.

Maryland Divorce Procedure regarding Service

  • For Service, one of the below mentioned methods is adopted
    • Asking a Friend to perform private process: Any adult, who has crossed the age of 18, but not the Petitioner, should deliver the service package to the Respondent by hand. It is important that the package should not be given to any relative or roommate or left on the doorstep. Compulsorily, the package should be placed in the hands of the Respondent. Then, the friend must complete an Affidavit of Service and file this affidavit and the copy of the Summons at the Civil Desk.

    • Asking a Process Server to perform private process: A process server can be located through a local attorney. This process server will charge a fee for the service. The Petitioner should demand an Affidavit of Service and then file it along with a copy of the Summons at the Civil Desk.

    • Sheriff: The Sheriff may be handed over the responsibility of delivering the service package and completing the affidavit.

    • Certified Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt requested: An individual, who has completed 18 years of age, but not the Petitioner, can mail the service package in the above mentioned manner from a post office. Further, this individual has to complete an Affidavit of Service. The post office returns the green card after service. Now the Petitioner must confirm that the signature on the green card is of the individual that the Petitioner has sent. If it is so, then, the green card and a copy of the Summons and the Affidavit of Service must be filed at the Civil Desk. If the signature is not of the individual sent by the Petitioner, the next step is to retry the service.

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