MARYLAND DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: Any bona fide resident can file for divorce.
No Fault; 12 months voluntary separation with no expectation of reconciliation.
Fault: Adultery; Deliberate desertion for a period of at least 12 months without hope of reconciliation; A prison sentence of three years; Living separate and apart for at least two years; Insanity, only if hospitalized for at least three years; Cruel treatment toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party; Excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Property Division: Maryland is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. In dividing the marital property, the court considers 11 factors, including the contributions of each party to the marital estate, both monetary and nonmonetary, and the length of the marriage (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce ).
Alimony: Alimony may be awarded to either spouse. There is a preference toward rehabilitative (i.e., the get-back-on-your-feet-and-into-the-work-force) alimony, and against permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is awarded only if the requesting spouse cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming self-sufficient, or the parties’ respective standards of living would be unconscionably disparate.
Child Custody and Child Support: As in all states, the court awards child custody based on “the best interests of the child.” In the case of continuing abuse or neglect, custody and visitation will be denied, except under supervision. A child at age 16 can file papers requesting a change of custody (click the following for a detailed explanation and full list of articles on child custody and child support).
Child support is based on the Maryland child-support guidelines, which uses an income-shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes.
For a combined gross monthly income of:
- $2,000, support for one child is $332; for two children, $515; for three children, $645.
- $5,000, support for one child is $670; for two children, $1,043; for three children, $1,304.
- $10,000, support for one child is $1,040; for two children, $1,616; for three children, $2,026.
The state of Maryland has an on-line calculator to help you determine child support: http://www.dhr.state.md.us/csea/worksheet.htm
Disclaimer: The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.