Maryland Divorce Steps

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Maryland divorce steps basically consist of general procedural submissions and trials. These steps may vary according to the kind of divorce that the applicant is filing for. The residency requirement in Maryland are slightly more than some other states. If the reasons for divorce are occurred in the territory of Maryland, the residency condition is one year. But, if it occurred outside the state, the requirement is of two years. In Maryland, the court can dismiss the case entirely if the petition is out of its judicial powers.

Maryland Divorce Steps till Service

  • The Plaintiff must complete Dom. Rel. 20 that is Complaint for Absolute Divorce

  • The other documents that may be attached to the Complaint are as follows
    • Financial Statement for Child Support or Alimony (Dom. Rel. 31 or Dom. Rel. 30)
    • Property Settlement Agreement

  • If the Plaintiff desires to request a waiver of prepayment of fees then he or she must complete the Financial Statement (Dom. Rel. 30) and Motion for Waiver of Prepayment of Fees (Dom. Rel. 32)
  • The Plaintiff must prepare two copies of all the above forms

  • The Petitioner must choose the Civil Desk in the Circuit Court where he or she is a resident and file Dom. Rel. 32. After five days have elapsed, the Plaintiff must call the court clerk and find out whether the motion has been granted

  • In case the motion was denied, the Plaintiff must pay the filing fee. If the motion was approved, the Plaintiff must file the granted motion along with other forms

  • The next divorce step is of service. If the Plaintiff fails to perform proper service, the court might dismiss the case

  • Generally, personal service is expected

  • If the Plaintiff desires to serve a Defendant who resides out of this state, he or she must ask the court clerk "A Writ of Summons for 60 days"

  • If the Plaintiff desires to serve a Defendant who resides out of this country then this Plaintiff must demand the court clerk "A 90 Day Writ of Summons"

  • The different methods of service are as follows. It is necessary to obtain a receipt of such service as it is an evidence that the petition was served
    • Certified Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt Requested
    • Sheriff or local authorities
    • Private Process by a Process Server
    • Private Process by a Friend

Maryland Divorce Steps after Service

  • The following time limits have been provided to the Defendant for filing the Answer
    • If the service was done in this state, then, within thirty days after service
    • If the service was done in any other state in this country, then, within sixty days after service
    • If the service was done in another country, then, within ninety days after service

  • If the Defendant fails to file the Answer in the stipulated duration, the Plaintiff must file a Request for Order of Default (Dom. Rel. 54)

  • When the Plaintiff receives an answer or Order by Default, he or she must file one of the following two documents
    • Request for Trial on the Merits (Dom. Rel. 52)
    • Request for Master's Hearing (Dom. Rel. 51)

  • If there is a dispute regarding property, prior to the court date, the Plaintiff must file this document
    • Joint Statement of Parties Concerning Marital and Non-marital Property

  • Irrespective of whether the Defendant has filed an answer, the Plaintiff must dispatch a notice of the date, time and location of the hearing to the Defendant. A copy of this notice must be brought to the hearing or must be filed with the court

  • The Plaintiff must bring along the following documents while coming to court
    • Marriage license (certified or original copy)
    • The corroborative witness to prove marital faults

  • On conclusion of the hearing, the court drafts the Judgment of Divorce

  • In some counties, the Plaintiff has to procure a sample form (Judgment of Divorce Form) from the court clerk and complete the form by self. In addition to this form, there is a Blue Form that must be completed by the Plaintiff

If a petitioner wishes to opt for an uncontested divorce, then he or she must have approval for the divorce from the other spouse. For a mutual separation, both partners must sign an agreement that states the provisions for property and children that are finalized by both of them. This agreement has to be signed by the Judge before granting a divorce. Sometimes, the contested divorce may turn into a mediated divorce if the spouses agree on solving the issues by discussion. In mediation, spouses are assisted by a mediator to find the suitable options for solving the conflicts between them.

In this manner, one has to follow mandatory court procedure in order to get divorced from the partner. Maryland divorce steps may be useful to those who wish to acquire a decree of divorce in this state.

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