Understanding Legal Terms for Divorce Matters
Terms to Know as Explained by a Divorce Lawyer Rockville MD Relies On
If you are going through a divorce, there are several legal terms you will likely hear quite often and you may need help from a Rockville, Maryland divorce lawyer. Your divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD can explain in detail what the terms mean and how they may affect your case, but in the meantime, here is a general overview: In an ideal world, the process of divorcing someone would be smooth, amicable, and inexpensive. The truth, however, is usually far from those three things. There is often a lot of emotion and hurt feelings wrapped up in resentment and bitterness at the relationship that failed. Those feelings are so easily turned on each other and the blame game begins. It is imperative that you have a trusted and experienced attorney, who specializes in divorce, represent you. The following information is intended to help prepare you for the divorce process and provide information regarding the role of your attorney from the beginning stages.
Petition for Divorce: This is the document that a spouse files with the court when they want to end their marriage. In some states it is referred to as a Dissolution of Marriage petition. The petition will detail the grounds for divorcing, as well as the factual support for those grounds. A petition will need to be filed in the same jurisdiction that the divorce proceedings will take place, typically in the town or county where one of the two parties is currently living. There is no benefit to filing the petition versus receiving it, so it does not really matter who is the one to file.
The petition should include:
- Grounds for Divorce. States have different grounds that are recognized. The most common grounds for divorce is referred to as “no-fault”, which is accepted in all states. If you choose no-fault, neither party has to prove that the other person is at fault for the divorce, it is considered a mutual decision.
- Parties. The names of the two divorcing parties.
- Children. The names and ages of the children if there are any.
- Custody Requests. How much information you need to include in the petition may vary depending on the state that you are filing in. However, most states require that you at least include your custody request, i.e., primary, secondary, full custody, or shared custody.
- Alimony and Child Support. You do not have to identify a specific amount at this stage, but most states require a statement that you will be seeking alimony and/or child support.
- Shared or Separate Property. When necessary, a judge will determine the separation of property. The intervention of a judge is necessary when the two parties cannot agree on a fair separation of property. In the event that the two parties do agree, the specifics of how the property will be separated should be included in the petition.
The petition does not need to be specific at this stage and your attorney can assist you with how much to include according to the laws of your state. The party who is receives the petition will have an opportunity to agree or disagree with the information therein. In the event that it is not amicable and the parties do not agree on any of the following grounds for divorce, child custody, alimony and/or child support, or the division of property, the court will arrange for negotiation conferences. In the event that the custody of the children is in dispute, the court may arrange for mediation and possibly bring a professional, such as a social worker, in to evaluate all parties involved. When there is disagreement regarding the terms of a divorce, it is important to protect your wishes by having an experienced attorney from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright looking out for you.
Temporary Order: Depending on the circumstances of the case, the majority of divorces take time to go through the process and have a final order issued. However, during this process, there are often decisions that need to be addressed, even if only temporarily. With a temporary order – also referred to as an interim order – the court can establish a temporary custody order, temporary child and/or spousal support, and which spouse will reside in the family home. The court can also issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting either spouse from accessing bank accounts or disposing property when it is suspected there could be an attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. A temporary order is void once the final divorce decree is issued.
Community Property: Each state has its own laws regarding how the marital estate is divided and a divorce lawyer in Rockville, Maryland can help. Some states have community property laws, which mean that assets and property acquired by the couple during their marriage belongs to both of them. Asset and property owned by either spouse prior to marriage is separate property, however, if any of that property is commingled with the community property then it too becomes community property. For example, if either spouse has bank accounts before they are married and then takes those funds and places those in a joint account, those funds now become part of the marital estate. Exceptions include separate property given to a spouse as an inheritance or a gift. Your Rockville, MD divorce lawyer can provide more details.
Equitable Distribution: Many states that are not community property states divide the marital estate using equitable distribution rules. Any assets, property, or debts the couple has are divided fairly, but not equally. The court will take into account several factors when determining what a fair distribution is, including how long the couple was married, what the earning capacity of each spouse is, and who the children will primarily reside with.
Child Support: Every parent has a legal obligation to support their child, no matter what state they live in. Every state has child support laws which determine which parent will be obligated to pay support to the other parent and how much that support should be. Talk to your divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD to get an estimate of the anticipated payment amount.
Spousal Support: Spousal support is often referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. It is not automatically ordered in a divorce like child support is. The court makes its decision on whether or not one spouse should pay the other spouse based on certain factors, such as the length of the marriage, the lifestyle the couple had, and what the earning capacity is of the spouse requesting support. A Rockville, MD divorce lawyer can review your case to determine if there are any applicable factors that could affect the terms of the spousal support.
Divorce Lawyer Rockville, MD
When your marriage is coming to an end, working through the process of a divorce or legal separation can be challenging without the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer Rockville, MD has to offer. Chances are, you know people who have gone through a divorce both with and without relying on an attorney. But perhaps you wonder what benefits could come from having a Rockville divorce lawyer handle the details of your own divorce. While it depends on the situation, having a skilled and capable attorney could mean mitigating conflict and coming to a compromise that works for you.
If you are looking for a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD couples know they can trust, consider the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. We have more than 35 years of comprehensive experience, and can give you the peace of mind you need to make better decisions throughout this difficult process.
Requirements for Divorce in Maryland
Before you start down the road of getting a divorce in Maryland, there are a few details that you should know. First, Maryland has residency requirements for separating spouses. One of the two spouses—if not both—must have been a Maryland resident for at least 12 months prior to filing. In addition, unless there were “fault grounds” for divorce, both of you must have been living separately for 12 months in order to legally file.
“Fault grounds” refer to anything you or your spouse might have done to cause the breakup of the marriage. These may include:
- Infidelity/committing adultery
- Mental instability that leads to being committed to a mental institution
- Cruelty and vicious conduct
Speaking with a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD trusts can help you determine whether any of these apply to your situation.
Types of Divorce in Maryland
Maryland allows for two different kinds of divorce. You could either seek an absolute divorce or a limited divorce. Both deal with the same areas of child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets. However, the following differences are important to note:
Limited divorce is similar to a legal separation, in that the divorce is not permanent. Additionally, you and your spouse cannot be remarried and must retain joint ownership of all assets.
Absolute divorce is the same as what other states call a divorce; it is permanent. It allows that you and your spouse could be remarried, and requires division of all assets.
Determining which of these arrangements is the right fit for you can be difficult. It all depends on the unique details of your relationship. Having a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD knows for skillfully navigating divorce and legal separations can help you more swiftly make a decision.
Working with a Divorce Lawyer in Rockville, MD
When you need an attorney to help you navigate the emotionally challenging process of divorce, consider contacting a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD counts on from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. We can help you determine the next steps you need to take in order to reach an outcome that is right for your family. For an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD clients can attest is caring, capable, and professional, call the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright today.