There is a one year requirement if the grounds for the divorce occurred outside the state of Maryland, otherwise if either spouse is a resident of the state of Maryland, he or she may file in the county in which either spouse resides. If you are filing for divorce under the grounds of insanity, the residency requirement is increased to two years.
If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
County of Filing:
You should file the divorce in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a Maryland address in the county of filing. Maryland civilian residents living overseas may file in Maryland if they have maintained their residency in Maryland.
Active duty members of the military (or their spouses) may file in Maryland if they have been stationed in Maryland for 12 months or were residents of Maryland when they entered active duty. Smart Divorce.com staff includes former active duty officers and enlisted personnel and are completely knowledgeable on the special military requirements and the “Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act”. Our staff prides themselves on the service they provide our military members.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO-FAULT or FAULT ?
An absolute divorce shall be granted on one of the following grounds:
(1) adultery; (2) desertion for a period of at least 12 months (3) voluntary separation for at least 12; (4) Imprisonment for a period of 3 years; (5) Living separate and apart for at least 2 years (6) Insanity only if hospitalized for at least 3 years; (7) cruelty of treatment; (8) excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
The law further requires that neither party to the divorce may remarry, except to each other, until thirty (30) days after the judgment of divorce is entered
PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE:
In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished by means of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). You and your spouse must agree to the property and debt division and memorialize your agreement in the Marital Separation Agreement, which will be incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ultimately ends your marriage. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as a basic fairness is maintained. You do not need to list items already divided or not an important issue in the divorce. You may revise the MSA after receipt of the documents from us by sending an email with your changes. There is never a charge for revisions at any time up to one year.
If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. If at the final hearing the divorce is still contested we do not provide advice for that hearing. You may need to consult an attorney or be prepared to tell the judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.
Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request in the documents.
The questionnaire you fill out will outline the custody, visitation and support for the children. We will prepare the documents accordingly, and we will also prepare a Marital Separation Agreement (at no additional cost) which outlines in specific detail all the provisions regarding the children. Both parties must attend the parenting class or get a waiver. A list of the places in Maryland to attend may be obtained from the court.
The child support will either be an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or it will be determined for you by the court, according to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. If you wish the court to calculate the amount then you will need to file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit which we provide. See “Maryland Child Support Calculator” on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
You may have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. This determines how the decisions are made regarding the raising of the child(ren).
Physical custody may be with one residential parent or “SPLIT CUSTODY” where the child(ren) live a substantial time with each parent.
This can be any program agreed upon by the parties and may change from time to time. If the parties cannot agree then the state guidelines are in effect. State guidelines are outlined in the MSA provided with your documents. You do not need to list your present visitation agreement as it will change from time to time but you may if you wish. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason on the questionnaire.
You must file the divorce documents in the Circuit Court in the county that you are filing in. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Frederick County Courthouse:100 West Patrick St., Frederick, MD 21701 Phone: 301-600-2005
Baltimore County Courts Building: 401 Bosley Avenue, Mailstop 3102, Towson, Maryland 21204 Phone: 410-887-2687 Fax: 410-887-4806 E-mail: email@example.com
City of Baltimore County: Courthouse East: 111 North Calvert St., Room 462, Baltimore, MD 21202 Phone: 410-333-3722 or Phone: 410-333-3711
Howard County Courthouse: 8360 Court Ave., Ellicott City, MD 21043 Phone: 410-313-2111
Montgomery County Judicial Center: 50 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850 Phone: 240-777-9402
Harford County Courthouse: 20 West Courtland St., Bel Air, MD 21014 Phone: 410-638-3426
Cecil County Courthouse: 129 East Main St., Elkton, MD 21921 Phone: 410-996-5315
Washington County Courthouse: 95 West Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740 - 4831 Phone 301-733-8660
Allegany County Circuit Court
Allegany County Courthouse: 30 Washington St., Cumberland, MD 21502 Phone: 301-777-5929 Fax: 301-777-2100
Garrett County Courthouse: P.O. Box 447, 203 South 4th St., Oakland, MD 21550 - 0447 Phone: 301-334-1934 Fax: 301-334-5017
The court filing fees for a divorce in Maryland is approximately $80.
If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of around $25 to serve your spouse.
If you don't know the whereabouts of your spouse, then your spouse will need to be served by publication. The average publication fee is approximately $75.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
1. The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the complaint with the court. You can hand deliver the documents , mail them or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even though your spouse is incarcerated.
2. If your spouse will not sign or you not not sure if your spouse will sign then you can get service by having the sheriff in spouse’s county serve a copy of the filed documents along with other documents requiring spouse’s signature. You can contact the sheriff in any state to serve your spouse. You can also get service by Certified Mail, (Return Receipt Requested) if your spouse lives out of state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can get service by having the prison/jail officials serve your spouse.
3. Service by publication. If you cannot find your spouse after a diligent search then you can publish. The publication fee for the newspaper is approximately $65 but varies for different counties. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
Go to our questionnaire and get started today.