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Divorce Lawyers

Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Posts Tagged ‘Grounds’

Maryland’s New Child Support Guidelines

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Following reconciliation of the house and senate bills, the Maryland Legislature has passed HB 500 – Child Support Guidelines Revision.

The bill has a new matrix for child support, which goes into effect for new cases filed on or after October 1, 2010, and it will increase the amount that most non-custodial parents will have to pay.  The new guidelines will go up to $15,000 in combined income instead of the old cap of $10,000.   However, you cannot petition for an increase in old cases just because the new law has passed.  There would have to be some other change in circumstances.

The legislature did not pass two other proposed bills discussed here:

SB 577 – Family Law – Grounds for Absolute Divorce – Time Requirements.  This bill would have shortened the required separation period from one year (voluntary) and two years (involuntary) for no fault divorces to six months and one year respectively.

SB 578 – Family Law – Grounds for Divorce.   This bill would have allowed people to obtain no fault divorces while separated but living in the same house.

Sorting Out Grounds for Divorce

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland can be a confusing and complicated concept.  You have to have grounds for divorce in order to file a complaint.  Grounds are reasons for the divorce.  Some grounds have a waiting period.  Others do not.  Some require you to live in separate places.  Others can occur while you are still living together.  Maryland has the traditional fault grounds.  It also has the more modern no-fault grounds.

No-Fault Grounds

The no-fault grounds are one year voluntary separation or two years involuntary separation.  Both of the no-fault grounds have a waiting period before you can file for divorce and you have to be physically separated continuously for that period.  That means you live in different places, or under separate roofs, as the court says.  You cannot meet the no-fault ground requirements if you both live in the same house.

Fault Grounds

The fault grounds are adultery, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, desertion, insanity and imprisonment.  Three of the fault grounds have no waiting period before filing a complaint.  Those are adultery, cruelty and excessively vicious conduct.  You can live in the same house and file for divorce based on adultery, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct and even desertion.

Related Posts:

Filing for Divorce While Living Together
Child Custody While Living Together
Does Ricketts Apply to Actual Desertion?
Does Rickets Apply to an Absolute Divorce?
Ricketts Revisited

Is Divorce Always the Fault of One Person?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

In Maryland, if only one party wants a divorce, they can get it eventually.  A two year separation is grounds for divorce under Section 7-103(a)(5) of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

That is why I say it takes two people to get married, but only one to get divorced.

Fault, or as the statute says “the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties”, is a factor the court can take into consideration in alimony and property determinations.

So is a divorce always the fault of one person, or are both parties at fault in some way?  This is the question asked at CreateDebate.com where you can register and vote and leave your comments.  Or you can tell us your opinion in the comment section below.

Divorce Waiting Period

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

We used to only have fault grounds for divorce like adultery, desertion and cruelty. Maryland and Virginia have added no fault grounds based on a period of physical separation. DC has done away with fault grounds and gone all the way to no fault grounds.

Maryland has the longest waiting period for a no fault divorce. It is one year if you both agree and two years if one of you does not agree.

Virginia is six months if there are no children and a full agreement, otherwise one year.

D.C. is six months if you both agree, and one year if one of you disagrees.

Here is a chart showing the waiting requirements in all the states. Interestingly, there is no correlation between waiting period and number of divorces. DC still has the lowest divorce rate at 1.7 per thousand people.

11 Reasons a Divorce Agreement Is Better Than a Divorce Trial

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

When clients tell me they want a Divorce, I usually tell them what they really want is a Divorce Agreement, also called a Separation Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement, for the following reasons.

1. Residency. Before you can even file a Divorce Complaint, one spouse has to be a resident for a year in Maryland or, if the grounds for Divorce arose in Maryland then one spouse has to be a resident at the time of filing. It’s six months in Virginia and DC. There is no residency requirement for a Divorce Agreement.

2. Grounds. You have to have Grounds, or reasons for a divorce, before you can file a Divorce Complaint. But you can have a Divorce Agreement even if you don’t have grounds for Divorce yet.

3. Separation. No-fault Divorces require a period of Separation first. You can have a Divorce Agreement even if you are still living together.

4. Cost. A Divorce Trial can cost $20,000 or more. You can get a Divorce Agreement for $5,000 or less.

5. Time. It might be a year or more before you have a Divorce Trial, and that’s after you file your Divorce Complaint. You can have a Divorce Agreement today.

6. Trial. The actual Divorce Trial itself can last a day or a couple of weeks. But if you have a Divorce Agreement, then an Uncontested Divorce Hearing takes about 20 minutes.

7. Limitations. A Divorce Court Judge has certain limitations in what he or she can order placed in the Divorce Law by the Legislature. You are not restricted by these Divorce Laws in a Divorce Agreement.

8. Detail. A Divorce Decree might be a page or two and leave many questions unanswered. But a Divorce Agreement can be as long as you want and cover every detail.

9. Control. In a Divorce Trial, a Divorce Judge will make the decisions for you, and he or she is a stranger to your marriage. You can control the outcome with a Divorce Agreement.

10. Privacy. A Divorce Trial is public and some of the information about your divorce is available on the Internet. A Divorce Agreement can be kept confidential.

11. Appeals. Your spouse can appeal a Divorce Trial, but not a Divorce Agreement.

In fact a Divorce Agreement can give you almost everything a Divorce Trial can give you, except an order dividing pension plans (“QDRO”) and the right to remarry. A Divorce Trial is the course of last resort, only when you and your spouse cannot reach a Divorce Agreement.

The I Love You Defense

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

If you don’t have fault grounds for divorce in Maryland, there are two no-fault grounds — one year voluntary separation and two years involuntary separation. One defense to a complaint based on one year voluntary separation is that the separation is not voluntary. This means it will take two years to get divorced instead of one. I call this the I Love You Defense. You say that you still love your spouse and want the marriage to continue. At the same time, you let the other side know that you will relunctantly agree to a divorce within one year if the price is right. In order for this to work you must show that you have made some attempts at reconciliation.

 
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